Argentina: destabilization from within

by ARAM AHARONIAN

Argentina’s President Javier Milei and Vice President Victoria Villarruel IMAGE/Contextotucuman/Duck Duck Go

A serious error in coordination and in the political relationship that unites them has led the Argentine president, Javier Milei, and his vice-president, Victoria Villarruel, to what seems to be the beginning of a new stage in an ultra-right government that is barely a hundred days old, while its projects and laws are rejected by a Congress that is still hostile.

It remains to be seen whether Milei’s experiment will survive this phase, in which he celebrates the fact that “the people” do not have a penny, thanks to international financial support and that of local and, above all, foreign companies because the sacrifice will be worth it. But what is the alternative, in a country where the crisis begins with the inaction of doomed political parties?

Javier Milei created all the conditions for his defeat in the Senate, which rejected his Decree of Necessity and Urgency (DNU), just as the Chamber of Deputies had buried his Omnibus Law. The libertarian president concentrated a fierce adjustment on the provinces, on fractions of the capitalist class, and the working people.

But in his all-out attack, he has also savagely dismantled the political opposition of all colors; he has wanted a “pact” in which everyone must capitulate to his agenda; he has encouraged massive trolling on social media against all kinds of dissent, including that of Victoria Villarruel, his vice-president.

Perhaps it is part of a sum of miscalculations and the president’s poor ability to read the limits of his political strength, believing that his method of contempt would make everyone grovel at his feet, in a not-so-original form of political construction.

Concerned analysts of the chaotic situation agree that it is very difficult to decipher where this stage in Argentina will lead because there are no longer strong parties with which to reach agreements, but rather tribes, many of them without solid leadership or with devalued and/or expired leadership.

Given the likelihood of serious political difficulties and a power vacuum, the question would be who would take the place once occupied by Raúl Alfonsín and Eduardo Duhalde to lead the management of the crisis.

Digital violence, the loss of pensioners’ purchasing power, and the repression of social conflict were Amnesty International’s portrait of the first 100 days of the far-right government. “Some of the executive’s measures have had a profound impact on people’s lives and rights,” it said.

The British Financial Times, one of the most influential newspapers in international political and economic circles, published an explosive profile of Vice President Victoria Villarruel just one month into the new government, in which she warned that President Javier Milei might not complete his term in office and pointed out that she was “ready for anything”.

Far from distancing herself from this idea and supporting the mandate of the person who placed her first in the presidential line of succession, Villarruel took up the article on her social networks, stressing that she was “ready for anything”.

The article, entitled “Victoria Villarruel: Argentina’s tough-talking vice-president looking to redeem her career,” highlights the gulf between the personalities of Milei, a “libertarian economist who promises drastic reforms,” who is described as “an eccentric, with irascible outbursts and a wild hairdo. And Villarruel is described as an “activist who has built her career on hard-line cultural conservatism”, more politically polished than the leader of her party.

Where is the opposition?

Some of it is represented in Congress, but the real opposition to the far-right experiment is on the streets, in the surviving factories, in the universities, among the workers and the unemployed. Is there a left? Is there a center? There are parties so stagnant that they have not learned anything about the technological revolution of today’s world.

The forgettable last president, Alberto Fernández, managed to dismantle Peronism, the biggest mass movement on the continent for 78 years, with the help of a stagnant leadership that had forgotten how to defend the humble. Former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, in the “centrism” of her document, defined it as a call to take note that, at this stage of the technological revolution, there are as many social rights to preserve as there are stagnations to get out of.

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