Javier Milei president of Argentina: what has the Biden administration said about the new Argentine president?
Eyes all around the world have been keeping close tabs on the headline making election, and the US government have a keener interest than most.
Argentina already has a new successor to Alberto Fernández. Javier Milei emerged victorious in the presidential elections after his candidacy, La Libertad Avanza, secured 56% of the votes, compared to the remaining 44% for Union for the Homeland, led by Sergio Massa. Buenos Aires, Santiago del Estero, and Formosa were the only provinces where the Minister of Economy prevailed, while Milei won in the rest of the territories. “If we don’t swiftly move forward with the structural changes that Argentina needs, we are heading towards the worst crisis in history. But today, we embrace the ideas of freedom to become a global power,” declared the winner.
It will be on 10 December when Milei takes office at the Casa Rosada and assumes the leadership of the Argentine Executive. Tackling the high year-on-year inflation of 142% will be one of the major challenges facing the election victor. “Today marks the beginning of the reconstruction of Argentina. [...] and the impoverishing model of the omnipresent state comes to an end,” Milei concluded during his speech.
Biden government reacts to Javier Milei
As the third largest economy in South America, and the messages pushed through the campaign from Milei, there is much interest in the new leadership of Argentina from its far-north neighbour, the United States. Although there was no immediate comment from President Joe Biden himself, other reactions were forthcoming from his administration.
“I congratulate Javier Milei on his election as president of Argentina and to the people of Argentina for holding free and fair elections,” said Jake Sullivan on X (Twitter’s new name), the White House National Security Advisor. “We look forward to building on our strong bilateral relationship based on our shared commitment to human rights, democratic values, and transparency.”
Marc R. Stanley, the U.S. ambassador to Argentina gave a strong message.
“Congratulations to Javier Milei and the Argentine people! We look forward to working together on shared priorities that benefit the people of our two countries, including the protection of human rights and democracy, the fight against climate change, the improvement of the investment climate, and investment in the middle class.”
The messaging is clear, although flies in the face of many of the stances Milei has been taking thus far.
Trump, Bolsonaro and other leaders react to Javier Milei
World leaders have expressed varying reactions to the victory of the far-right candidate Javier Milei in Argentina’s presidential elections. Former U.S. President Donald Trump congratulated Milei, expressing pride and confidence that Milei would bring positive change to Argentina. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro also congratulated the Argentine people and Milei, hoping for a renewed sense of hope in South America.
In contrast, Colombia’s President Gustavo Petro expressed sadness at the victory of the far-right in Argentina, suggesting that neoliberalism lacks solutions for current societal challenges. Former Colombian President Iván Duque celebrated the triumph of democracy over populism and demagoguery. Chilean President Gabriel Boric acknowledged the democratic process in Argentina and congratulated Milei, emphasizing the importance of collaboration between the two nations.
Bolivian President Luis Arce conveyed respect for Argentina’s democratic will, wishing prosperity to the country and success to its president-elect. Other leaders from Honduras, Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Paraguay, and Central American countries offered congratulations and expressed their willingness to strengthen bilateral relations with the new Argentine government.
The Venezuelan opposition, represented by leaders such as María Corina Machado, Juan Guaidó, and Henrique Capriles, celebrated Argentina’s electoral process and Milei’s victory, seeing it as a positive step for freedom in Latin America. Additionally, the United States expressed its readiness to work with President-elect Milei.
Who is Javier Milei, Argentina’s president elect?
The far-right candidate received support from former Argentine president Mauricio Macri, as well as from the candidate eliminated in the first round, Patricia Bullrich. “Milei’s new government will need the support, trust, and patience of all of us. What happens will depend on his management and the conviction that we, as Argentinians, maintain not to yield in the struggle that true change will entail. A spectacular future of growth, employment, education, and freedom awaits us,” highlighted the former president.
Javier Milei, the currency, abortion and economy
Dollarizing the economy and abolishing the abortion law are his main proposals. His measures to address these issues include abolishing the Central Bank, and eliminating 90% of taxes. Another of his economic proposals involves dismantling the Social State, which entails cutting funds for pensions, as well as eliminating subsidies. As part of the reduction of ministries, he suggested that the Ministries of Health and Education will disappear in his upcoming cabinet.
Along with merging the Departments of Social Development and Labor to create the Ministry of Human Capital, in the field of education, he proposed the establishment of an “educational voucher check” system in his program and eliminating the mandatory comprehensive sex education. In health, he emphasizes the intention to repeal the abortion law in effect since 2020, as well as implementing telemedicine and electronic prescriptions, decentralizing health services, and creating a universal insurance system to cover costs.
Javier Milei and foreign policy
During his campaign, he asserted that he will break ties with Brazil and China. The bilateral relations with Brazil are crucial for the functioning of Mercosur, the South American economic bloc that also includes Uruguay and Paraguay. Aligned with the United States and supporting Israel in its conflict against Hamas, he clashed with the Vatican in the weeks leading up to the presidential elections.
Javier Milei and the Falkland Islands (Malvinas)
Another matter of concern for Argentina is the Falkland Islands issue, a longstanding national concern since the war against the United Kingdom in 1982 that ended with the British gaining control of the islands. Regarding the islands, Milei proposed in an interview with Radio Continental to reach an agreement with England similar to the one the British reached with China concerning Hong Kong. To achieve this, he considered it crucial to take into account the will of the population residing on the islands.
“A certain amount of time passed, and certain goals were achieved. Automatically, England returned Hong Kong to China. Here, we need to do the same, but also taking into account the will of the people living on the islands. These are individuals living in the standard of a developed country, not in a destitute country like ours. You have to sit down with the English and state that, according to the definitions, the territory belongs to Argentina. It involves reaching a long-term agreement that implies the islands returning to the country.”
The world will now watch on with interest to see how campaign messaging and actual governing compare and contrast for Argentina’s new presidential administration.