Saint Joseph. – The Argentine people let out a cry that spectacularly skipped the Andes mountain range in 1983 when they managed to go to the polls to vote and overthrow the right-wing military dictatorship—one of the darkest in the history of Latin America and the Caribbean—to demand freedom and democracy… and 40 years later it jumped the mountain range again, turned to the extreme right and was left with a gigantic question mark about its future.
The victory the day before yesterday of the far-right economist Javier Milei, of the opposition party La Libertad Avanza, in the second and final round of the presidential elections in Argentina over the leftist Sergio Massa, of the ruling Union for the Homeland alliance, was positioned as a fact of transcendence world and of repeated internal doubts about the national future.
Argentina “is entering a serious ‘reset’ process full of uncertainty, of course,” predicted Argentine political scientist Mario Riorda, president of the (non-state) Latin American Association of Researchers in Electoral Campaigns and director of the master’s degree in Political Communication of the (non-state) Universidad Austral, Argentina.
“The anger was greater than the fear in this electoral process,” he added, in a message he sent to EL UNIVERSAL in reference to the deep popular discontent—growing poverty, accelerated inflation, incessant devaluation, massive unemployment and economic stagnation—with the policies of the president of Argentina, the leftist Alberto Fernández.
As Fernández’s Economy Minister, Massa paid the consequences. Milei will succeed Fernández and will be sworn in on December 10 for a four-year term.
“The discomfort was noticeable” due to the country’s direction in the face of inflation and “fedfulness with the political system,” Riorda stressed.
“The expectations with the winner, Milei, are huge. Especially because it was not clear what he wants to do and what he can do,” she warned, stating that “in anger, many Milei voters do not know exactly what type of policies they voted for.”
Yesterday, Milei gave indications: “Everything that can be in the hands of the private sector, is going to be in the hands of the private sector,” he said. Among the companies to be privatized, she mentioned the oil company YPF and the state media, such as Télam.
He declared war on inflation, of more than 140%, and said that it will take “between 18 and 24 months to bring it to the lowest international levels.” Regarding the Central Bank, he reiterated that it will be suppressed, although he said that he will first pay off the institution’s debt and promote the end of the exchange control established in 2019.
“Milei’s strategy was a whirlwind, erratic at many times, disorderly, but effective and agglutinating the unrest. “People paid with their vote to enter a new show with Milei as the protagonist,” described Riorda.
In an act of global impact after seven years and seven months of bloody military dictatorship, Argentines came on October 30, 1983 to vote for president and vice president for the first time since 1973. The center-left Raúl Alfonsín became president-elect and, In a massive popular mobilization, he took his stand on December 10, 1983 and defeated the military regime, which intended to hand over power in April 1984.
With these historic events, Argentines began the return to democracy in December 1983 after the anti-communist military regime inherited a deadly record of repression with massive human rights violations against its ideological adversaries in more than 92 months: murders, more of 30 thousand missing people, kidnappings, torture, theft of babies, illegal adoptions, forced exile, prison and generalized terror.
The events in Argentina 40 years ago had repercussions on the area. The military dictatorship of Uruguay, which was installed in 1973, fell in 1985, and that of Chile, which began in 1973, had to give up command in 1990, while that of Paraguay, established in 1954, collapsed in 1989, and that of Peru, which began in 1968, ended in 1985.
Heading towards the 40th anniversary of the feats of 1983, Argentines were faced with a dilemma with the victory of Milei and his “liberal and libertarian” electoral platform and shock, without delays, as the winner himself described it the day before yesterday in his messages of victory: reduce the size of the State, cut public spending, lower the public finance deficit, dollarize the economy and close 11 ministries and the Central Bank.
The Argentines chose “an option” that, “without a doubt, (is) a singularity in the world,” said Argentine political scientist and political analyst Gustavo Córdoba, director of the (non-state) public opinion company Zuban Córdoba, of Argentina.
“There is no radicalized or libertarian right-wing government project (in the world) or right-wing anarchism that has taken power. It is going to be an experiment that will be evaluated from different places. He (Milei) has important political legitimacy” due to the support with which he won, Córdoba told this newspaper.
Official figures showed that, with 99.28% of the scrutiny in a country of about 45 million 800 thousand inhabitants and 35 million 912 thousand 841 voters, Milei obtained 14 million 476 thousand 462 votes or 55.69%, with 11 million 516 thousand 142 or 44.30% of Massa, for a difference of 11.39%. In the first round, on October 22, Massa won with 36.78% and Milei captured 29.99%.
Milei will come to power at a legislative disadvantage: 38 of 257 deputies and 8 of 72 senators.
After mentioning the veto power of Milei’s adversaries, Córdoba suggested reviewing “the weaknesses of the new government. Milei does not have any territorial leader at the level of municipalities, mayors, governorates or departments. It does not have any leader in a position of power in Congress (Senate and Chamber of Deputies).”
A “reading error” would be for Milei to interpret that Argentine society wrote “a blank check” to its government, he said. “Argentine society is not willing to give blank checks, nor did it in the past. There was a large component (…) of punishment for Fernández and Massa,” she clarified.
“I hope that the new government has enough lucidity to understand this and not believe that it has a blank check, because it is going to encounter a lot of resistance,” he anticipated.
“We will have to see if the new government has the capacity to read the support, which is not absolute support, but relative and I would say… precarious,” he said, predicting that Milei will take office “without too much honeymoon time” or pause. “in criticism.”
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