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ARGENTINA | 06-05-2024 21:45

Milei to business community: Argentina can be ‘new Mecca of the West’

President Javier Milei asks investors and entrepreneurs to bet on Argentina during speech at Milken Institute’s Global Conference in Los Angeles.

President Javier Milei delivered a speech at the Milken Institute's Global Conference in Beverly Hills, California, on Monday, during which he claimed that Argentina can be “the new Mecca of the West.”

Before an audience of US investors, business leaders and economists, Milei delivered a typically energetic speech that warned against the threat of “global socialism” and called for a return of Western values and free-market economics.

He called on the business community to take advantage of the “enormous” investment opportunities his country had to offer and asked for their assistance to make Argentina “the Rome of the 21st century.”

Blaming Peronism and “collectivism” for decades of economic stagnation in Argentina, he said his reform plans were taking hold in the country, which is gripped by runaway inflation and rising poverty. 

"Today, for the first time in 150 years, and against the backdrop of an increasingly less free world, Argentina is becoming a freer country day-by-day," he claimed.

Addressing US investors and entrepreneurs directly, the La Libertad Avanza leader repeated his previous line that businesspeople are “the heroes of history” thanks to their belief in “superiority” of free enterprise and capitalism.

“Merit, ambition, freedom, innovation and optimism are essential values. I want to invite you to bet on Argentina,” said Milei.

While in Los Angeles, Argentina’s President met with a number of top business leaders and famous names, including ex-Boca Juniors star Guillermo Barros Schelotto and FIFA President Gianni Infantino.

He also met with a second time with billionaire Elon Musk on the sidelines of the conference. The SpaceX and Telsa CEO later posted photographs of him and Milei posing together online.

Earlier in the day, underlining Argentina’s diplomatic shift under his administration towards Western nations, the United States and Israel, Milei posed backstage with a huge Israeli flag for a photograph shared on social media.

During his speech, the President asked the business community to help him make “Argentina the new Rome of the 21st century” and a “land of opportunities.”

Lashing out at the “populism” of his predecessors in office, Milei said investors could “generate enormous investment opportunities” if they only bet on the country.

Recalling a previous speech at the World Economic Forum in Davos back in January, the libertarian leader said it is clear that “the West is in danger,” which he said was a result of a shift “away from the ideas of freedom.”

“Instead of defending the ideas that generated the prosperity that everyone here enjoys, they listen to siren songs that lead inexorably to socialism and consequently to poverty," said Milei.

The president continued: "For us, the only task of the state is to protect the life, liberty and property of Argentines, so that everyone can be the architect of their own destiny. It is a vision similar to the one held by all the prosperous countries of the West in the great moments of their history.”

Talking up his reform plan, Milei argued that the “only way to lift 60 percent of Argentines out of poverty is with economic growth, and there is only economic growth with freedom."

He declared: "Argentine society demands a profound and urgent change of course to re-embrace the ideas of freedom.”


– TIMES/AFP
 

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