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OPINION AND ANALYSIS | 31-05-2024 17:16

Javier Milei’s duality: Global leader disconnected from local reality

While Milei sees himself waging epic battles against abstract enemies, Argentina’s real problems – like inflation, poverty and unemployment – require practical and effective solutions.

Throughout the country and across the world, from cafés to historic squares, the whispers about Argentina’s future are becoming more intense. At the epicentre of these debates we find Javier Milei, the controversial economist and President of Argentina, who has promised a new era of prosperity. However, while projecting the image of a world leader, local reality requires work and attention that seem to be absent.

Argentines are struggling daily with constant price increases, tax hikes and rising utility rates affecting their livelihood. Lines at soup kitchens are getting longer, reflecting an internal conflict within the government that risks the basic food needed by many citizens.

Let us consider those who every morning travel miles looking for work. Many support Milei’s economic stabilisation promises hopefully, but in their day-to-day lives, unemployment is constantly looming. The promises of a stable economy seem distant and abstract for those facing a crude and challenging reality.

In the circles of those who are close to President Milei, his sister Karina emerges as a key figure, evoking memories of past leaders who promoted their relatives, such as Perón and Evita, or the Kirchners. This trend of nepotism not only undermines public confidence, but reinforces the perception of power as being monopolised by a few privileged ones, removed from the needs of the people.

The cult of personality around Argentina’s President is a two-edged sword. His charisma and confrontational style attract devout followers, but they also divert attention away from daily administration. While Milei sees himself waging epic battles against abstract enemies, Argentina’s real problems – like inflation, poverty and unemployment – require practical and effective solutions. They cannot be combatted only with passionate speeches; they need specific policies and a decisive implementation.

Argentina is facing a monumental challenge: to stabilise its economy without sacrificing the welfare of its most vulnerable. Milei, with his global image, must remember that being President of Argentina implies, above all, an efficient administration and empathy for local problems. Only by facing this paradox and prioritising the people’s immediate needs, can he meet the expectations of those who have placed their trust in him.

In some ways, Milei sees himself as a “President of the world.” His attitude and discourse show that he sees his role more as an international figure than as a manager of local needs. In a country where millions struggle to access proper food and basic services, this disconnect between the grandiloquent rhetoric and actual administration is alarming. 

The lack of experience and fear in Milei’s Cabinet make the situation worse, since the perception of an amateur and fearful team prevents the implementation of effective policies. This administrative paralysis context is an obstacle to any attempt at improving the country’s situation.

The cult of personality around the President contributes to a crisis of governability. The construction of an image as a charismatic, almost messianic, leader diverts attention from everyday affairs and the specific solutions the citizens need.

Do not worry, Mr President, for now the world has such leaders as Joe Biden (United States), Xi Jinping (China), and Vladimir Putin (Russia); tech business leaders such as Elon Musk (Tesla, SpaceX), Mark Zuckerberg (Meta), and Jeff Bezos (Amazon). To get on that bandwagon, he has to prove that Argentina has started along the path of setting an example, a state of affair that is far from happening.

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Eduardo Reina

Eduardo Reina

Analista Politico .Consultor Especializado en Comunicación Institucional y Política, Doctorando en Comunicación (Universidad Catolica Argentina) ,Magister en Comunicación y Marketing Político en la Universidad del Salvador (USAL). Postgraduate Business and Management por la Universidad de California Ext. Berkeley, EEUU. profesor Protitular en UCA Universidad Catolica Argentina.

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