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What is Trump-like about Argentina’s new president Javier Milei?


Javier Milei, Argentina’s new president, has been making waves, but few people outside of Argentina can explain why. Unfortunately, English-speaking media outlets have completely dropped the ball. 

The Economist and Reuters have called him a “libertarian,” but he calls himself an anarcho-capitalist.”  

What does that mean? At the very least, it means there’s gonna be turbulence ahead for Argentina. 

His hair has rightly captured attention, likened by his image consultant as a mix between Wolverine and Elvis Presley. He is called “el Loco” by his fans, and his dance moves have also rightly gone viral.

A one-time tantric sex coach who has engaged in occupational menage a trois, Milei varies from most rightwing leaders in how he presents his personal life.

He recently posted an AI-generated image on Instagram of him and his four dogs, all cloned from his beloved Conan, and from which (and yes, this is true) he takes political advice with the caption: “FAMILY ALBUM”.

He isn’t married and doesn’t have children so there’s no traditional family to portray. He is very much a bachelor, and he doesn’t make any bones about it, as can be seen in the clips above.

He was reportedly involved with Lilia Lemoine, a former cosplay actress before joining Milei’s team, she is now an elected national congress representative. 

Milei is now dating Fatima Florez, a TV impersonator most famous for portraying former president and current Vice President, Christina Fernandez Kirchner as a deranged megalomaniac. During the campaign, she posted on Instagram Stories (and then deleted) a picture of her bed with a puddle of what appears to be her own sexual fluids.

Some find this relationship dubious because it may be a cover to dispel rumors that he has an incestuous relationship with his sister (whom he has referred to as “the future first lady”) is part of mainstream discourse and had to be discredited by the elected president.

A Grab Bag of Contradictory Policies

His ideas are eye-catching. He wants to blow up the Central Bank of Argentina and the Argentine peso, which he intends to replace with the dollar. Like that’s easy. As if Conan’s clones told him so. 

He carried around a chainsaw during his campaign as a prop to emphasize what he wanted to do to the state.

Then, there was this video where he peeled off several state agencies’ names written on little magnets, shouting “Afuera!” or “Out!” every time. 

In another performance of the same shtick, Milie said that the Ministry of Women, Gender & Diversity should be eliminated because “It’s not about rights, it’s about privileges.” He expounded further upon this theme with Tucker Carlson, as we’ll detail below. 

It could be argued that drastic changes will be necessary to pull Argentina out of the economic doldrums into which it has sunk, but the more worrying aspect of Milei must be read between the lines and in his choice for vice president. 

That’s where the fear is coming from. His running mate openly defends state terrorism. And Milei has already put the police on notice that they should respond violently to protests.  

Argentina’s Trump

The news media has called Milei “Argentina’s Trump.” There’s a good deal of crossover between the playbooks of Javier Milei and Donald Trump. Milei’s vitriolic tone, messaging, and campaign strategy are similar to that of Trump. 

Both have stoked cultural wars. Both speak of a previous golden era to which the country should return. Both are misogynistic homophobes who blame everything wrong in their respective countries on the left.  

Milei is similar to Trump in 2015, but he’s more extreme, more bellicose, more like Trump in 2023, talking of revenge and making his enemies suffer. 

Trump pledged to “drain the swamp,” while Milei promises to deal with “the caste,” his term for the entrenched Argentine bureaucracy he says is ruining the country. 

Milei has also been likened to Jair Bolsonaro, the Brazilian president recently defeated in his reelection bid, whose failed fascist coup #DisruptionBanking wrote about here

Both Bolsonaro and Milei falsely cried “fraud” when they lost or feared they had. Milei did it before the election was even over. 

Never Let a Good Crisis Go to Waste

When Milei talks of Argentina’s economy, regardless of whether his proposals are sound, the hurt is far more real and a plurality of voters are desperate for change, which is probably partly why he was able to clobber his opponent by more than ten points.

A key distinction between Milei and Trump is that Milei appeals to young people. It’s a magic trick of sorts, considering some of his extreme policies. But what’s striking is the demographic that supports him. During his campaign, he consistently polled well with voters from the age of 16 to 35, which has always been (one of) Trump’s Achilles heel(s). 

The same perception of Trump as the outsider and rebel propelled him to the White House in 2016, but it wasn’t a perception held by young people. In 2016 and 2020, just 36% of young voters, ages 18 to 29, voted for Trump. 

In the United States, older voters were able to overlook or rationalize aspects of Trump they didn’t like. In Argentina, it’s the young people doing it. Perhaps the difference between the two men’s appeal can largely be explained by their ages. Milei is 53. Trump, 77. 

However, this distinction has recently changed. In the case of the U.S. electorate, perhaps due to the advanced age of both front-running candidates, Trump’s age is a non-issue, if not a strength.

As detailed in a recent New York Times article, Trump is virtually tied with Biden among young voters. However, this may speak more to young voters’ lack of confidence in Biden than an open embrace of Trump.

In regards to Milei, perhaps he is better understood as a more extreme version of Boris Johnson. His eccentricities and disheveled appearance work as assets. His buffoonery is seen as endearing. 

Mark P Jones, a professor in Latin American Studies at Rice University, says of Milei, “Younger voters…see someone who’s fighting against the system and a rebel.” 

The main difference is circumstances. Donald Trump assumed the presidency along with a healthy economy and a bull stock market. His depiction of Washington and large swaths of the urban centers (likely where people of color happen to live) as cesspools in need of draining. Although incongruent with reality, it resonated with certain voters, who also held that opinion. 

In Argentina, the country really is in an economic crisis, so voters are that much more willing to overlook the many worrisome traits of its new leader and his even more worrisome Veep. 

Bet Your Bottom Dollar 

On the campaign trail, Milei assured everyone that abandoning the peso and adopting the dollar in its place will be “super easy.” Milei declared, “This would end the fraud of the peso, which is melting like ice cubes in the Sahara.” 

It’s Build The Wall all over again – totally unrealistic and only meant to animate the audience. However, it also impacts the peso, at once strengthening Milei’s hand politically and seeming to prove his argument.  

Oh yeah, and Milei has a big beef with the country’s Central Bank: 

Last year the Central Bank robbed six points of gross domestic product via its inflation tax and this year it will rob six more points. So it’s a fraud and that happens because inflation is not a tax approved by Congress.” 

Huh? He talks about inflation like you can expose it as a fraud and thereby make it go away. This from a guy who actually claims to be an economist. And he is sure that this will not scare investors, arguing “Is there anybody more pro-market than me?” 

He also talked a big game against China, saying he “wouldn’t make deals with communists” but quickly backtracked on that, according to the media, almost as soon as he won the election. 

Milei echoes Ronald Reagan, stating “For me, the state is an enemy, as are the politicians who live off it.”

Milei plans to sell all state assets, including the state oil company, hospitals, media outlets that criticized him, and who knows what else. He intends to do away with all state subsidies provided to over 19 million people in Argentina, a country with a poverty rate inching up to 40%. 

Sell your organs, but don’t end a pregnancy

One of the most attention-grabbing things about Milei is his odd promotion of selling organs as “merchandise.”

He said, “My first property is my body. Why am I not going to be able to dispose of my body? There are 7,500 persons suffering as they await transplants so something isn’t working right. We are seeking market mechanisms to solve this problem.”

Okay, so Milei believes bodily autonomy is integral, but, wait… (checks notes) only for men. Milei wants to outlaw abortion, which became legal in Argentina in 2020, even in cases of rape.

Ah yes, and he links climate change to abortion, arguing “Climate change is part of the socialist agenda, and in that agenda, it also has a darker part, which is the abortion agenda, because as a consequence of humans doing harm to the planet, they promote the murder of people in the womb of the mother.”

Read that again. It makes no logical sense. A lot of his ideas make no sense, but perhaps that’s part of the design. It’s a distraction. Take Trump’s cancellation of light bulb efficiency standards in 2019, when he said that LED bulbs were “no good” and “most importantly” made him look orange. Just like that, light bulbs became part of the culture war, a symbol of Democrat overreach, only the efficiency standards Trump chose to mock and ignore were actually set by George W. Bush’s administration.

Perhaps the plight of the incandescent light bulb and that extra kidney you don’t need speak to some emotional truth for voters. It doesn’t matter if it doesn’t make sense and falls apart under scrutiny. In the case of Argentina, voters are angry, as they should be with annual inflation of 140%. Why not keep the outrage going with some mindless rambling about selling your organs? Trump did it with lightbulbs.

Rape Addiction & Stuff So Creepy It’s Hard to Classify

You thought it was over? No, there’s more – stuff that even Trump in his most off-the-teleprompter moments, probably wouldn’t say. 

Suppose you have a, let’s say, you have a daughter, and suddenly there’s someone who has an addiction to raping women, I mean, and your daughter is a victim, then what are you going to say?

Some of his quotes are so “out there,” one suspects it must be a deep-fake, but no.

He actually said this: “Recognize who our true enemy is. Our true enemy is the State. The State is the pedophile in the kindergarten, with the children in chains and smothered in Vaseline.

The quote sounds even weirder in Spanish. It’s like, should someone call the police? Oh wait, he’s the chief law enforcement officer of the country. 

Sympathy for Argentina’s Military Torturers

Those who excuse the torture of dissidents during the dictatorship call what happened a “Dirty War,” implying that the government and the resistance were both committing war crimes, also referred to as the “Two Demons” theory. Those who blame the human rights abuses primarily on the dictatorship call it a genocide because 30,000 dissidents were killed, and no comparable number of soldiers.

Excusing the depredations of Argentina’s genocide was toxic for Argentine politicians, until it wasn’t! Milei’s vice president is Victoria Villarruel. Her father and uncle were military officials who participated in the murder of dissidents during the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983. She thinks he and others like him are heroes. 

Villarruel gained prominence as a lawyer. She founded the Civil Association of the Victims of Argentine Terrorism (CELTYV, by its Spanish acronym) in 2006, and she is the leader of the Center for Legal Research on Terrorism and its Victims (Centro de Estudios Legales sobre el Terrorismo), which pushes a revisionist agenda that downplays the crimes of the dictatorship. 

She stated in a live TV interview, “Truth be told, after the military coup… society was better protected.” 

A Genocide Denialist

Villarruel defends the authoritarian repression imposed by men like Eduardo Villarruel, her father and her great uncle, Ernesto Villarruel. These and others “participated in illegal repression that included kidnapping, torture, murder, disappearances, and robbery of children,” according to a video posted by the human rights non-profit, Center for Legal and Social Studies (CELS in Spanish) on X

Villarruel was born in the year leading up to the dictatorship, and her father, Eduardo Villarruel, was a Lieutenant Colonel in the military. Notably, he participated in the 1975 Operativo Independencia, a campaign of repression that involved forced disappearances of dissidents and their sympathizers to secret black sites where they were often tortured to death. 

During the dictatorship, dissidents were forced to lay on metal bedsprings that the military affectionately called “parrillas” or grills.

They would attach clamps to the genitals of male and female detainees and electrocute them for hours at a time. It was the subject of an ongoing joke between members of the military about hosting an “asado” or bbq.  

Women were gangraped. The officers got first dibs on the pretty ones. If they were or became pregnant, they gave birth in chains and their babies were stolen from them and adopted by families friendly with the military. 

In front of the City Legislature of Buenos Aires, she statedFor 40 years, the victims of terrorism were swept under the rug and ignored. None of these victims have received justice or known the truth about what they suffered, nor have they been awarded even moral reparations. They suffered at the hands of those who wanted to impose left-wing tyranny.

One can readily imagine the gasps in the room. It’s very personal to her because her uncle Ernesto was arrested and indicted for his crimes in 2015, but could not stand trial for health reasons. Eight of his comrades were found guilty of the abduction, rape, torture of 370 people, and the murder of 50 others. 

Victoria Villarruel has made a career out of defending military men like her uncle from legal action, and she feels violated by the stain on her family’s reputation. 

Villarruel’s Freedom Fighters Are Argentina’s State Terrorists

Villarruel minimizes the depraved crimes of the Argentine Dictatorship, arguing that “State Terrorism” is a contradiction in terms. She coopts the language of human rights activists, calling left-wing opposition to the dictatorship terrorism instead. It’s the adult version of “I know you are but what am I?” 

She told La Nacion: “The expression state terrorism is not only unfortunate but also confusing. State terrorism is a political category that creates greater terrorism that hides and overshadows the actions of terrorism itself. Now, if we understand that State terrorism is a massive violation of human rights, as some have tried to define it, I can guarantee that the current government falls perfectly within this definition because the state today is massively violating the human rights of the victims of terrorism.”

She went on, “The terrorists wanted to go down in history as heroes, but their past condemns them when their victims appear, ordinary people whose lives changed forever due to the irrational violence of armed organizations.”

In the same interview, she explained, “In every major city there is a museum… but with a biased memory, because the innocent victims are not included. So, I wonder, if the State puts all its effort into defending only one sector, why does it not act the same to defend people who were not even active in an armed organization? A terrorist is not the same as a victim.”

The vice president-elect semantically turns history on its head with this rhetorical sleight of hand. It started in the wake of democratization and has stubbornly survived until this day. 

Our Kind of Tyrant

There are also instances where Villarruel seems to say the quiet part out loud.

In an interview, she asked the rhetorical question, “How do you think we’re going to fix this devastated country without tyranny?”

Undoubtedly, Milei feels the same way about the dictatorship as his VP. Milei worked for General Antonio Domingo Bussi who led the clandestine operation. Milei was his economic advisor in 2003. Five years later, Bussi was removed from office, arrested, and convicted for crimes against humanity.  

Milei wants to put another member of Villarruels, a family that has already proven its capacity for the massacre of civilians twice over, in control of Argentina’s security, defense, and justice ministries.  

Villarruel actually goes to visit incarcerated former high military officials in prison. That’s something you couldn’t ever pay Donald Trump enough money to do, that and visiting a veteran’s cemetery. 

Anyway, Milei plans to release from prison the men who carried out genocide on their own citizens, no doubt, so they can get back to work, firing up the old grill.

In fact, a retired military officer posted a short video of a green Ford Falcon, which later became symbolic of the forced disappearances of the dictatorship because this car was used to round up dissidents under cover of night.

The video included a caption saying, “Although a little uncomfortable, 7 can fit in this trunk.” Coded threats like this have been all over social media, causing average Argentinians to worry about what the incoming administration might do to those who resist.

Milei’s choice of Villarruel as his running mate speaks volumes about the direction Milei would like to take Argentina: back to the dictatorship days. 

Rightwing Celebrities from the North

Given all the above, Tucker Carlson just had to get an interview with the Argentinian sensation. Milei took the opportunity to complain loudly about the Ministry of Women: 

Supposedly it is dedicated to dealing with issues related to women. When you look at the results, they have not achieved any. Women are not happier. Painting a bench red or singing a song does not change the problems that women may be suffering from. One of the greatest achievements of liberalism is equality before the law. Why isn’t there a Men’s Ministry? Not only that, but also, if we have equality before the law, we need the law to be enforced, not for there to be a Ministry of Women. They talk about ‘the glass ceiling and that they earn less’ and at the same time they maintain that businessmen are damned pigs who only care about making money.

There’s a lot to parse, but you get the idea. All the foregoing notwithstanding, the scariest parts came from Milei’s victory speech, but you have to read between the lines because there may have been a special message buried therein. 

Looking well old with his reading glasses, Milei announced, “Today begins the reconstruction of Argentina. Today begins the end of Argentina’s decline. Today ends the impoverishing model of the omnipresent state, which only benefits some while the majority suffers.

Then, he issued a sort of warning. “In this new Argentina, there is no place for the violent. There is no place for those who violate the law to defend their privileges. We will be implacable with those who want to use force to defend their privileges.” 

This may sound reasonable, but I read it the way we’ve learned to read Trump’s statements. When Trump makes an accusation, it can often be understood as a confession of what he is doing or plans to do. He accuses someone of being corrupt or violent, it is because he wants to inoculate himself from a future accusation of being corrupt or violent. 

It’s a sort of doublespeak he does to misdirect attention. He accuses Hunter Biden of using his father’s name to conduct corrupt business because he knows he is vulnerable to the accusation that his children have done so. 

So, listening to Milei warn about future violence from dissidents, I understood it as a misdirection because he plans to use violence against those who will resist.

The president-elect continued, “There is no room for gradualism, there is no room for lukewarmness or half-measures.”  

Already a Lame Duck President?

It was a triumph of simple solutions for complex problems, until alas, the plan turned out not so easy in practice, only a few days after the election and maybe even before. 

Milei has already run into institutional obstacles that will inhibit the realization of his dream of dollarisation. For one thing, his political party has 38 representatives of 257 seats in Congress and no governors in his corner. 

Therefore, Milei had to dip into the establishment he so furiously denounced during the campaign, seeking the endorsements of fellow candidates who dropped out of the race along with the former rightwing president, Mauricio Macri.

Macri later described Milei’s political party as an “immature group, without volume, without a team, easily infiltrated.”

Observers read his statement as a power play, especially the last words: “easily infiltrated.” People wondered, Did Macri infiltrate Milei’s administration? Macri continued, “Think about it. How can you promise change with zero governors and less than 20% of the [Congress]? Today, there is no change possible.”  

Thus constrained, Milei may have made certain, unspecified promises in exchange for the endorsement of Macri, in addition to sundry potential cabinet positions for Macri’s friends and associates, including but not limited to Germán Garavano, Guillermo Dietrich, and Andrés Ibarra

Trumpy Much? 

Javier Milei has executed a stunningly abrupt rise to power, using some of the favorite verses from the 2015 Trump playbook in the key of 2023. 

Although similarly vindictive and strident like Trump, Milei seems genuinely insane. Lest we forget: this bloke claims to get advice from the clones of Conan. 

The leaders of Argentina’s unions have already called for mobilization to resist Milei’s agenda of privatizing public assets. Even many of his voters don’t want that – they just wanted to vote against the establishment. Nevertheless, Milei is digging in his heels for the coming fight.  

The question that remains is how far he is willing to go to achieve his campaign promises and how he will rule when and if he is able to consolidate power.

 Author: Tim Tolka, writer, journalist, and BI researcher

The editorial team at #DisruptionBanking has taken all precautions to ensure that no persons or organizations have been adversely affected or offered any sort of financial advice in this article. This article is most definitely not financial advice.


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