NOTE: This article may include commentary reflecting the author’s position.
On Sunday, right-wing libertarian Javier Milei — nicknamed “El Loco” by supporters — signed an executive order to nix 12 government departments as his first act as President of Argentina.
It’s part of his plan to fix the troubled economy after decades of socialism, and a promise that he campaigned on while dramatically wielding a chainsaw at rallies to symbolize the deep cuts he planned to make.
President Javier Milei’s first act in office was an order cutting the Argentine gov from 21 departments down to 9.
The Chainsaw Plan is now a reality. pic.twitter.com/SUCEJrvMUj
— End Wokeness (@EndWokeness) December 11, 2023
Less than 24 hrs since taking office, Javier Milei has reduced the size of Argentina’s govt by more than half 😲 pic.twitter.com/tcwQKEwCCJ
— Sal the Agorist (@SallyMayweather) December 11, 2023
#BREAKING:–Just in—- Javier Milei passes the chainsaw for the first time OFFICIALLY and signs the reduction of ministries in Argentina from 19 to 9 ministries, eliminating 10 ministries at once. #Argentina
#MileiPresidente2023 #ArgentinaNT#viralvideo pic.twitter.com/OG5bVcw0BD
— EUROPE CENTRAL (@Ddhirajk) December 10, 2023
The Milei government will have two mega-ministries: that of Human Capital, headed by Sandra Petovello, who will assume multiple functions, and that of Infrastructure, which will be commanded by Guillermo Ferraro. The rest of the portfolios will be Economy (Luis Caputo), Foreign Relations, International Trade and Worship (Diana Mondino), Interior (Guillermo Francos), Defense (Luis Petri), Security (Patricia Bullrich), Justice (Mariano Cúneo Libarona), Health (Mario Russo).
Source: Ambito (translated by Google)
Javier Milei took office as Argentina’s president Sunday, promising to eradicate inflation and rescue the nation’s troubled economy with a shock-therapy program based on drastic cuts to public spending.
The libertarian leader, who beat out Argentina’s traditional political coalitions to win an election run-off last month, took the oath of office in a ceremony in congress, where he received the presidential sash from his predecessor to the chant of “freedom, freedom.”
He then delivered a somber message to the nation, warning that Argentines will have to endure additional pain while he works to pull the country from the economic crisis inherited from his predecessor. The outgoing administration of Alberto Fernandez has planted inflation that could reach 15,000% if the government doesn’t change course, he said.
Source: Bloomberg News (archived)
The former reality tv star with an uruly mop of hair turned President (that sounds a wee bit familiar), is an economist, a self-described anarcho-capitalist, and a fan of the late Ludwig von Mises, an Austrian School economist and social philosopher who was a staunch defender of the free market system and critic of socialism.
By wresting power from Massa’s Peronist party that has dominated Argentine politics for decades, Milei’s victory represents a political paradigm shift in the country. He is the first outsider to reach the presidency and considerably farther right-wing than anyone who has held the position before…
…Milei focused much of his campaign on economic proposals, casting blame on successive administrations for printing money with abandon to fund state spending. Ahead of the first round, Milei sometimes carried a chainsaw at rallies, a symbol of his intention to cut state spending.
In the run-up to the vote, Massa and his allies had cautioned Argentines that his opponent’s plan to eliminate key ministries and otherwise sharply curtail the state would threaten public services, including health, education and welfare programs many rely on.
Milei accused his opponent of running a “campaign of fear” and, in his final campaign spot, stared starkly into the camera and promised he would not privatize education, healthcare nor soccer clubs.
The wide margin of Milei’s victory suggests voters agreed that the hype was overblown, and were turned off, said Andrei Roman, CEO of Brazil-based pollster Atlas Intel, one of the only pollsters to correctly call the election’s first round.
Milei’s supporters shout “Freedom” and fly the Gadsden flag which they’ve adopted as a symbol of their movement.
Free market libertarians and many on the conservative right are cheering on Milei’s policies and waiting to see how they’ll play out during his term, while the “sh-t Leftards” as Milei calls them are pushing out dire warnings about his “destructive” “far-right” policies.
Gee, I can’t imagine why the left doesn’t like the guy.
The 53-year old Milei broke tradition by delivering his inaugural address directly to his supporters gathered outside — with his back turned to the legislature — and not to assembled lawmakers.
In his Inauguration speech, Milei warned Argentinians of the “shock treatment” that is coming.
“We don’t have margin for sterile discussions. Our country demands action, and immediate action,” he said. “The political class left the country at the brink of its biggest crisis in history. We don’t desire the hard decisions that will need to be made in coming weeks, but lamentably they didn’t leave us any option.”
South America’s second largest economy is suffering 143% annual inflation, the currency has plunged and four in 10 Argentines are impoverished. The nation has a yawning fiscal deficit, a trade deficit of $43 billion, plus a daunting $45 billion debt to the International Monetary Fund, with $10.6 billion due to the multilateral and private creditors by April.
“There’s no money,” is Milei’s common refrain. He repeated it Sunday to explain why a gradualist approach to the situation, which would require financing, was not an option.
But he promised the adjustment would almost entirely affect the state rather than the private sector, and that it represented the first step toward regaining prosperity.
“We know that in the short term the situation will worsen, but soon we will see the fruits of our effort, having created the base for solid and sustainable growth,” he said.
Source: Associated Press
“I prefer to tell you an uncomfortable truth than a soothing lie. It’ll be difficult, but we will be successful,” President Milei told the cheering crowd.
Watch Milei’s full speech with English subtitles here:
Javier Milei’s inauguration speech👇 (english subtitles) pic.twitter.com/yXkrvkbkFW
— DutchLibertarian (@LibertarianDuty) December 10, 2023