some Argentines worried three days before the inauguration of Javier Milei

The inauguration of anarcho-capitalist Javier Milei takes place on Sunday in Argentina. He had announced the disappearance of several ministries, the reduction in state aid… In Buenos Aires, part of the population does not know what to expect with this new president.


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Argentine President Javier Milei during a session at the Argentine Congress in Buenos Aires on November 29, 2023. (JUAN MABROMATA / AFP)

He promised to destroy everything: institutions, public spending, the political caste established for too long in Argentina. The anarcho-libertarian Javier Milei will be inaugurated president on Sunday December 10. This free electron, anti-system, who advocates drastic cuts in public administration, swears only by privatization. An ultraliberal shock is coming in a country in great difficulty.

Argentina has more than three billion dollars to repay to the IMF before the end of December and inflation has reached 143% over one year. Javier Milei had promised to put an end to it quickly but he ended up conceding after his election that it would take time to fade away.

The rise in prices is precisely in all the conversations, and this inflation is even more volatile, +20% in recent days. “We have fewer vegetables, they are overpriced. Let’s not talk about fruit, we can no longer give them away. Everything disappears with inflation”describes Eli, who has been cooking for 10 years in a soup kitchen in the disadvantaged neighborhood of Barracas, in the center of Buenos Aires. “The truth is that sometimes we make it, sometimes we don’t. There are days when it tears our hearts to have to say that we have nothing left.” Every day, 250 people come there, including workers whose salary, says Graciela, barely allows them to pay the rent: “The situation was already critical but we hadn’t reached the bottom. And now, with this Milei! I don’t know what he’s going to do, because if he increases everything, removes aid… they are already telling us that the bus ticket is going to go from 10 cents to 1.50 euros, it’s going to be a disaster.”

“I don’t know if people thought about the consequences”

Everyone here is wondering about the new president’s first measures. Will he maintain state aid? Which will be the first public companies to be privatized? What future for state employees of which Erika is a part? She is a lawyer in a ministry that Javier Milei has simply wiped off the map, that of Women. “For the moment, what we know is that our ministry no longer exists, she worries. We are under contract until the end of December but some have more precarious jobs. I don’t know if people thought about the consequences. Making ministries disappear means not realizing that my work defends their rights.”

Javier Milei is banking on eight ministerial portfolios, no more, with Education, Health and Family grouped within the “Ministry of Human Capital”. A major clean-up is announced in the public administration, a wave of layoffs that Javier Milei has orchestrated since his election with his new ally, former president Mauricio Macri whose methods have remained well anchored in the memory of Mailen Benitez, of state workers association. “When Mauricio Macri became president, she remembers, we arrived at the entrance to the ministry and when we placed our badge on the security gate, some of us were turned away. That’s how you learned you were fired and today, we’re afraid of going through the same thing again.”. By choosing Milei, Argentines have bet on austerity while 45% of them already live below the poverty line.

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