By Sau Fong O’Fallon
The recent election victory of self-proclaimed anarcho-capitalist Javier Milei has shaken the political establishment not only in Argentina but throughout Latin America. Reports of anxiety among South America’s leftist rulers were widespread as the elections neared. The region has seen a wave of socialist electoral victories, leaving only three countries not ruled by left-wing administrations: Ecuador, Paraguay, and Uruguay. Former President Donald Trump, to whom Milei has often been compared, extended his congratulations to Argentina’s new president-elect in a post on social media: “Congratulations to Javier Milei on a great race for President of Argentina. The whole world was watching! I am very proud of you. You will turn your Country around and truly Make Argentina Great Again!”
Upon congratulating Milei on his victory, China said they would continue working with Argentina despite Milei’s vow on the campaign trail to cut ties with Beijing. China is one of Argentina’s top trading partners, but Milei says that he would not “do business with communists,” and also intends to cut ties with the China-friendly Brazil, who is the other largest economy in South America. From a foreign trade standpoint, Argentina is arguably less dependent on China than Brazil is, and Argentina’s largest trade partner is not China but Brazil.
Following the country’s presidential election on Sunday, a top aide indicated that Argentina is no longer joining BRICS, an intergovernmental organization comprising Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa. Milei’s principal adviser on foreign affairs, Diana Mondino said Argentina would not proceed with plans to join the association of these leading emerging markets.
In 2022, Argentina was signed into China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), which is Chinese President Xi Jinping’s signature program of massive lending to finance infrastructure building across the developing world since 2013. China said it is “willing to work with Argentina to continue China-Argentina friendship and support respective development and revitalisation through win-win cooperation” according to a foreign ministry spokeswoman.
The president-elect had adamantly insisted on not doing business with China, per a recent interview with Tucker Carlson while Milei was campaigning: https://x.com/bxieus/status/1727020904780382636?s=20
Among many other provocative stances such as denouncing ‘climate change,’ Milei is a proponent of the U.S. dollar and desires to “dynamite” the Central Bank in order to do away with the “cancer of inflation.” The world will be watching intently to see what the strong-willed economist and former Argentine lawmaker Milei will actually do when he takes office effective December 10, 2023.
Sources: SCMP.com 11/21/23, The Diplomat 11/4/23, Inside Paper 11/19/23, Barron’s 11/20/23, and The Epoch Times 11/21/23.