PBS calls him the “upstart candidate with long sideburns and shaggy hair.”
In many respects, Javier Milei, 52, the leading candidate in Argentina’s 2024 presidential race, looks like he crawled out of the Beatles’ White Album. In fact, this man that many refer to as “The Wig” (he doesn’t comb his hair when he gets up in the morning)—is so different from ordinary politicians that one feels compelled to listen to what he has to say.
Milei is a libertarian with contradictory ideological views – although he has been labeled as an extreme far-right candidate (code for ‘undesirable’) by the American press, such as The New York Times and Reuters,
The threat that Milei poses does not sit well with Argentina’s left-of-center Peronist government, in control of the country for the last 16 years.
In his primary victory speech this August, Milei stated, “We’re going to end the useless, parasitic, criminal political caste that is sinking this country.”
Peronism, of course, is not only center-left but it’s also a hybrid mix of fascism, authoritarianism, socialism and capitalism, a political anomaly particular to Argentina, a country that in the early 20th Century rivaled the United States as the “go to” place to migrate to.
That’s anything but true today.
Argentina is currently battling a large recession and a massive dwindling of reserves of foreign currency. Reuters reports that “poverty hit 40.1% in the first half of 2023, or nearly 12 million people….That is up from just over 39% at the end of last year.”
Some say Milei is the Argentine version of Donald Trump (Melei admires Trump), while others—feminists—condemn his views on abortion.
If elected president in the general election on October 28, Milei says he would outlaw abortion – even in cases of rape or incest. He believes that life begins at conception, that a fetus is not part of a woman’s body – but a new life with separate DNA.
“I’m a liberal and liberalism is respect for another person’s life project,” he says.
“If you go against life, there’s no property or freedom [that can compensate]. Human life starts from conception. It’s a mathematical problem: life is a continuum with two discrete jumps, conception and death. During which week is abortion ok? At 14 weeks? 14 weeks minus one second? … A woman can make choices about her body, but what she has inside her womb isn’t her body — abortion violates the principle of non-aggression.”
On September 28, The Buenos Aires Herald published a piece critical of Milei’s anti-abortion stand, detailing how women—feminists– may be the deciding factor when it comes to Milei’s election as president:
“’You shall not pass. The green wave is going back to the streets.’ That’s the Argentine feminist movement’s message to libertarian economist Javier Milei,” the newspaper stated, adding,
“On Thursday afternoon, the Ni Una Menos feminist movement is leading a march down Avenida de Mayo to Congress, where they will hold their green handkerchiefs high to show that they will defend the right to legal, safe and free abortion, come what may.
…The libertarian, an outsider with his far-right La Libertad Avanza coalition, has said he considers abortion ‘homicide aggravated on the grounds of the relationship’ several times. He has even suggested a referendum to end legal abortion in Argentina if he’s elected.”
Since 2021, Milei has led the La Libertad Avanza party, serving as national deputy. The party is vehemently anti-socialist. Milei believes that socialism leads to communism, and when these two things inevitably merge, what you get is the end of freedom of speech.
Along with the end of free speech, you get the end of private property and a free market.
Milei is a critic of Pope Francis (who, like Melei, is not Argentine but Italian).
Melei has called Pope Francis the “incarnation of communism.”
In an interview with Tucker Carlson, Melei said that Pope Francis has always had considerable sympathy for communists, socialists and leftists. (The roots of the pope’s fondness for leftwing ideologies can be traced to the decades-long Jesuit evangelization of liberation theology in South America. it should be noted that Pope Francis has never visited Argentina since his election to the papacy in 2013.)
Bucking traditional conservative standards, Milei says he favors the legalization of drugs, while at the same time defending a person’s right to choose their own gender, although he maintains that neither he nor the government should ever pay for the latter.
Technically, he’s Catholic—he once stated on Twitter, “I’m a Catholic and, every day, I kneel in front of a Jew”—but yet he says he’s ready to convert to Judaism (he reads the Torah daily and is currently taking instructions from a Rabbi) although he worries that if he converts he won’t be able to work on the Sabbath.
The “shock-jock” is clearly evident in Melie when he freely offers details on his personal life, including his time as a tantric sex instructor and his admission that he’s engaged in threesomes.
He says he is against marriage “as an institution,” which should please the feminists of Buenos Aires, but sadly all the feminists can think about is… abortion.
He has stated that if elected he will abolish the Ministry of Women, which he says is discriminatory, since there is no Ministry of Men. He will also eliminate the ministries of Education, Health and Social Development—ministries that he says politicians steal from in order to become wealthy.
Milei believes that climate change is a lie, that Argentina’s Central Bank should be abolished, and that the peso should be abolished in favor of the US dollar.
His popularity ranks high among men, young voters and less affluent groups
Immediately after his stunning primary win—Milei still has to increase his share of the nation’s vote by 15% in the October 28 election to win the presidency—Argentina’s government devalued the local currency by 20 percent, a maneuver that PBS saw as a reaction to “voters having chosen an outsider candidate to express anger against the status quo.”
Rising poverty levels in Argentina have reached 40% of the population.
The situation is so dire that in the Plaza de Mayo square, an historic area in the center of Buenos Aires, hundreds of people come for the nightly soup kitchen to be fed.
The disastrous poverty rates can be traced to the failed policies of center-left Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, a convicted felon, and president of Argentina from 2007 to 2015, the second female president of the country after Isabel Peron.
Kirchner, who is also the country’s current vice president, seems to model herself after Peron. After surviving an attempted assassination in September 2022, she went ‘theatrical’ and declared a national holiday.
Kirchner’s relationship with Jorge Bergoglio when he was Archbishop of Buenos Aires, was cold and distant. By the same token, Bergoglio kept his distance from Kirchner, who disapproved of the archbishop’s opposition to gay marriage.
A change occurred when Bergoglio became Pope Francis. This initiated a friendship culminating in the two having a private lunch in the Vatican.
Call him what you will–Shock-jock, The Wig, unstable upstart—but Javier Milei is what our ever expanding globalist-socialist world must might need now.
He may not be a perfect candidate, but anyone who says– as he stated in 2021– “I will ally with all those who believe that the left is the enemy,” may deserve a chance.