Bucking the trend of left-leaning politicians winning elections in Latin America, Argentine voters elected far-right candidate Javier Milei over Economy Minister Sergio Massa. The majority of Argentinians, who have suffered under tremendous 140% inflation balked at the idea of electing Massa whom many blame as responsible for their economic situation.
The 55.7% to 44.3% victory is the highest a presidential candidate has ever received since Argentina returned to democracy in 1983 after ousting dictator Leopoldo Fortunato Galtieri Castelli in June of 1982. The United States government supported Galliteri’s government under former president Ronald Regan who saw him as a rampart against communism.
Milei, who ran on a platform of minimizing the government, eliminating the Central Bank, and rebuilding the economy based on the US dollar while privatizing social services including welfare programs healthcare, and education, walked back many of those positions in political ads as the election day drew nearer. He also walked back his support for loosening gun laws.
The US Department of State issued a press release congratulating the president-elect.
“The United States congratulates Argentine President-elect Javier Milei on his victory in today’s election, and we applaud the robust democratic process through which the Argentine public has spoken,” reads the Department of State’s release. “The strong turnout and peaceful conduct of the vote are a testament to Argentina’s electoral and democratic institutions. We look forward to working with President-elect Milei and his government on shared priorities that benefit the people of both countries, including protecting human rights and democracy, addressing climate change, and investing in the middle class.”
However, Milei has consistently made the argument against climate justice and that he believes climate change isn’t man-made. Part of his platform was built on the intent to remove Argentina from the Paris Climate Agreement. President-elect Milei and his backers have also expressed support for expanding mining and agriculture over concerns about deforestation. Further, his party and its supporters also question who is Indigenous to deny Native people specific rights.
Following his victory, Milei told a local radio station that he plans to visit the US and Israel before his inauguration signaling cooperation with Western corporate interests. According to CNN, he declared his trip to the US “will have a ‘spiritual connection” since he is aiming to visit his “rabbi friends.” Milieu also added that he intends to visit the controversial Organization of the American States (OAS) while in the United States.
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