He campaigned with a chainsaw and was known as “El Loco.” However, Argentina’s recently elected far-right president, Javier Miley, is not just another populist, says Latin American expert Anne Franks. “The only thing he has in common with Trump is his haircut.”
Why did Miley score so much better than left-wing government candidate Sergio Massa?
“Argentines are in pain. They did not vote for Miley so much as they voted against the establishment, which they consider responsible for the economic problems. In one year, the Argentine economy saw inflation of no less than 140 percent. Unemployment reaches its peak, 40 percent of the population lives in poverty.” Anyone with money in the account can only withdraw it gradually.It is also becoming increasingly difficult to exchange pesos for US dollars.
And so Argentines vote for a man who brandishes a chainsaw?
His message of reducing the size of government agencies is already spreading. Inflation comes on top of many other problems. Argentina is considered one of the richest countries in the world in terms of per capita GDP. But if you look at the rankings of corruption or the health of the rule of law, you will find that the country comes out in a bad position. This is due to poor monetary policy and corruption that seems to flourish in the current political culture.
Is this a compromise with the leftist government policy?
“It’s not that simple. It’s basically a compromise with Peronism (The Political Legacy of Former President Juan Domingo Peron, Asian Development Bank). This movement does not consist of progressives or leftists as we know them in Belgium. Rather, they are left-wing Catholics who represent a very conservative society. For example, the right to abortion only recently existed in Argentina.
“Peronists have come to power in Argentina several times since 1946. But they struggle from one corruption scandal to another. Current Vice President and former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner was convicted of fraud last year for doling out favors to friendly campaign donors.
Miley questions the right to abortion and reduces the wage gap between men and women. So why do so many women vote for him?
“In Europe we often hear how Argentina has a loud women’s movement – everyone knows the ‘foolish mothers’ who have taken to the streets for their disappeared sons since the military dictatorship of the 1970s. However, Argentina is still a patriarchal society where women and men are assigned clear roles. They must “A woman must above all be chaste and obedient. This means that Miley is communicating with a large part of the population.”
Because of his obscene statements against the establishment, some call him the Argentine Donald Trump.
“Unjustly. The only thing he has in common with Trump is his weird hairstyle. But other than that, the political context in which they operate is completely different. Trump has strong Republican Party support, while Miley’s party has few representatives in Parliament. Despite From his strong statements, Miley will soon have to look for allies to implement his ideas.
“I think Miley can only lose. Either he implements his extremist agenda and gets criticized from all sides. From women, from trade unions, from civil servants, you name it. Otherwise it won’t work and his current supporters will be disappointed.”
Miley also has strange traits. He says he takes advice from his cloned dogs.
“Remember a Latin American leader who does not hear voices. (He laughs) Former Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez consulted fortune-tellers. His successor, Nicolas Maduro, was supposedly inspired by a cute little bird sitting on his arm, clearly an incarnation of Chavez. South America is a continent with a very different political culture from ours. There is a certain spirituality that is foreign to us. It is also difficult for a politician to win elections without charisma. Then of course you get these kind of amazing personalities.
As an economist, Miley has wild plans, like introducing the US dollar. But will this really benefit the Argentines?
“In the past, countries like Panama and Ecuador have also introduced the US dollar. But Argentina has a much larger economy. This is probably no more than a temporary measure for which the poor population will pay dearly.”
“The Argentines themselves believe that things cannot get any worse than they are now. Some also look to Chile, where Pinochet left economic policy in the hands of economists after his coup. Then they applied a kind of shock therapy that was very painful for a number of years, but they managed to control hyperinflation.Now Chile is the most prosperous country in South America.
What do these elections mean for the rest of Latin America?
“Above all, it underscores a broader trend: that Latin America is tired of the machinations of leftist leaders. The idea that the left can govern sensibly has been burned out since the Chavez era. Venezuela was the richest country in Latin America, and now seven million people have fled the country.” “People across the continent have had enough. They just want something different. In that sense, this is a message to other leaders: If you let problems stink for too long, you will have incidents like Miley’s.”
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