Javier Milei embarks on new US tour to be named ‘ambassador of light’ and meet with Elon Musk

The Argentine president is traveling with a delegation led by his sister Karina Milei and will later fly to Denmark to buy F-16 military aircraft with American financial assistance

Javier Milei
Javier Milei in Maryland on February 24.Jose Luis Magana (AP)

Javier Milei has demonstrated with both words and gestures that the United States will be Argentina’s great ally during his presidency of the South American country. Since Milei took office on December 10, senior officials of the Biden administration have traveled to Buenos Aires while members of the Argentine executive have been to Washington to strengthen a bilateral bond that had not been this tight since the times of “the carnal relations” established during the government of Carlos Menem (1989-1999). On Wednesday, the populist leader set foot on U.S. soil for the third time in four months with an agenda that included a meeting with tech billionaire Elon Musk and an honorary ceremony with a Jewish community in Miami. His Minister of Security Patricia Bullrich will be following a parallel agenda in Washington this week. Later in the year Economy Minister Luis Caputo will participate in the spring meeting of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), to which Argentina owes $42 billion.

Just as on his November visit, Milei began his trip with a spiritual event linked to Judaism, a religion he is studying and to which he says he would like to convert. The president of Argentina was expected to be named an “international ambassador of light” at The Shul, a Chabad-Lubavitch synagogue in Florida, in recognition of his unqualified support for Israel even amid an offensive on Gaza that has already caused more than 33,000 Palestinian deaths. The organizers of the ceremony, which will be held behind closed doors, recognize Milei for “his tireless efforts on behalf of Israel and the global community, honouring his unbreakable dedication to spreading liberty, hope, and positive feelings in the face of darkness.”

The delegation traveling with the president includes his sister and presidential chief-of-staff, Karina Milei; the ambassador in Washington, Gerardo Werthein; Rabbi Axel Wahnish, his spiritual guide and future Argentine ambassador to Israel, and the filmmaker Santiago Oria. The latter is the author of several documentaries about Milei and short videos designed for social networks, such as the one he shared hours ago that shows Milei greeting the passengers who traveled with him on the Aerolíneas Argentinas flight to Miami.

According to the official agenda released by the Presidency, Milei will meet on Thursday with the president of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Ilan Goldfajn, and will give a conference at the Jack D. Gordon Public Policy Institute.

Visit to a Tesla factory

The highlight of the trip will take place on Friday, when Milei will visit the Tesla factory in Texas and meet with its owner, billionaire businessman Elon Musk. The face-to-face will follow complimentary exchanges on social networks and telephone conversations. “Today I had a great conversation with Elon Musk, where I thanked him for defending the ideas of freedom and supporting our work, especially considering everything he represents as an icon of freedom in the world,” Milei said after Musk congratulated him for winning the elections. The businessman once again applauded him for the speech that the Argentine president gave at the Davos Forum.

Ideological harmony has economic interests as a background. The Milei administration has authorized the entry into Argentina of Musk’s satellite internet company, Starlink, and the U.S. entrepreneur is known to have an interest in the lithium reserves in the northwest of the South American country. This strategic mineral is key for the batteries in Tesla’s electric vehicles.

Milei’s trip was preceded by visits by high-ranking U.S. officials to Argentina. On Tuesday, the Foreign Ministry received a delegation of officials from the Department of Commerce and the Department of State. Last week, the head of the U.S. Southern Command, General Laura Richardson, made a three-day visit that concluded with a meeting with Milei in the Patagonian city of Ushuaia.

Milei reunión con Estados Unidos
Javier Milei with U.S. General Laura Richardson in Ushuaia, on April 5.Presidencia de Argentina (Presidencia de Argentina/EFE)

The president traveled the almost 3,000 kilometers that separate Buenos Aires from the southernmost city in Argentina to demonstrate that the United States will be his great partner in defense matters. Dressed in military gear, Milei stated that “the West is at risk” and that Argentines have “a natural affinity” with the U.S., with whom they share “the defense of life, freedom and private property.” Milei announced the construction of a joint naval base in the area, of which no further details have been given so far. According to the Argentine president, it will be a large logistics center that will function as a gateway for both countries to Antarctica.

Military investment

“My ally is the United States. Whether Democrats or Republicans, the ally is the United States,” he reiterated in his last interview, broadcast this weekend through the digital medium Neura. “Wow, they are supporting us, they gave us a Hercules, hey, come on!” highlighted the Argentine president, in reference to the donation of a U.S. plane in a move that had been agreed upon by the previous government of Alberto Fernández.

Javier Milei during the ceremony in which he received the Hercules C-130 aircraft from the United States, on April 5.
Javier Milei during the ceremony in which he received the Hercules C-130 aircraft from the United States, on April 5.Argentine Presidency (Reuters)

The far-right executive intends to strengthen the Armed Forces and expand their functions so that they can confront the drug crime epidemic plaguing cities like Rosario. Changing the law that prohibits the military from getting involved in internal security tasks would mean breaking one of the rules established after the restoration of democracy, but the debate advances hand in hand with a renewal of military equipment. “Investment in defense is once again a priority. We are equipping our Forces and recovering the country’s supersonic capacity,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement weeks ago.

That goal is behind the final stop on Milei’s international trip: Denmark. The government will sign the acquisition, with financial assistance from the United States, of 24 Danish F-16 combat aircraft. Milei will meet with the Prime Minister of the Scandinavian country, Mette Frederiksen, and he intends to board one of the fighters that will modernize the Argentine Air Force fleet as co-pilot.

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