javier milei
Opinion articles written in the style of their author. These texts are to be based on verified facts and must be respectful towards people, even though their actions may be criticized. All opinion articles written by individuals from outside the staff of EL PAÍS shall feature, along with the author’s name (regardless of their greater or lesser renown), a footer stating their office, academic title, political affiliation (if any) and main occupation, or the occupation related to the topic being assessed

The apocalypse according to Javier Milei

Argentina’s new ultra-right-wing president has taken time away from dismantling the Argentine state to make an eagerly awaited appearance at the Davos Economic Forum

milei en davos
Argentine President Javier Milei during his speech at the Davos Economic Forum on Wednesday, January 17.GIAN EHRENZELLER (EFE)
Francesco Manetto

Javier Milei’s economic experiment is fascinating a group of economists and businessmen who are looking for a precedent to confirm that the state, however minimal its role, is bad for prosperity. Hence, Argentina’s new ultra-right-wing president, who has already begun to scrap public services in a country punished by galloping inflation, was perhaps the most eagerly awaited attendee at the Davos Economic Forum.

His words, however, ended up conjuring, above all, an apocalyptic scenario. “I am here today to tell you that the West is in danger,” he said. “It is in danger because those who are supposed to defend its values are co-opted by a vision of the world that inexorably leads to socialism and, consequently, to poverty.” His tone was one of reprimand in a bid to promote his “libertarian revolution.”The social network X, formerly Twitter, accumulated an avalanche of reactions, starting with the company’s boss, Elon Musk. “Good explanation of what makes countries more or less prosperous,” he said of Milei’s address. The Tesla tycoon is a staunch supporter of Milei, who has been repeating the same script in every public appearance for years, to the extent that several X users detected that exact phrases of his Davos speech had been lifted directly from a TED talk he gave years ago.

In reality, it was not much of an issue. The leader of the far-right Libertad Avanza party, who won a landslide victory in Argentina’s November elections and now rules in coalition with the neoliberal party of former president Mauricio Macri, traveled to Switzerland above all to address a keen cohort of economists and political leaders from both sides of the Atlantic, now looking to Buenos Aires for solutions. And if the promises of Milei’s radical policies have been contradicted by an inflation rate of 25% during his first month in power, they can always blame the left-leaning Peronist legacy. Among Milei’s fans is Santiago Abascal, leader of the Spanish ultra party, Vox, and also the former president of the Madrid region, conservative Esperanza Aguirre. “It is comforting to hear someone with so much common sense!” she tweeted. “Long live freedom, dammit!!!” — one of Milei’s favorite slogans.

If the Argentine president received only lukewarm applause at Davos at the end of his speech, there was plenty of noise on social networks where he was framed as both hero and villain. Among those expressing their disapproval was Latin American leader Nicolás Maduro, though Maduro’s track record fail to make him a reliable critic on economic issues. In a post on X, Maduro wrote, “That is not the way, Milei. You are wrong. I don’t expect you to rectify but I do tell you that you are a mistake in the history of Argentina. A fatal mistake in the history of Argentina.”

Elsewhere in Davos, Colombian president Gustavo Petro defended his environmental and energy transition agenda. “We have decided not to contract any more oil, gas and coal exploration as an indication of our need to decarbonize our economy,” he said in his speech. The left-wing president also met with influential figures such as Bill Gates to discuss “artificial intelligence, investment in green energy and the substitution of illicit for licit engines of economic growth to achieve peace in Colombia.”

Sign up for our weekly newsletter to get more English-language news coverage from EL PAÍS USA Edition

Tu suscripción se está usando en otro dispositivo

¿Quieres añadir otro usuario a tu suscripción?

Si continúas leyendo en este dispositivo, no se podrá leer en el otro.

¿Por qué estás viendo esto?


Tu suscripción se está usando en otro dispositivo y solo puedes acceder a EL PAÍS desde un dispositivo a la vez.

Si quieres compartir tu cuenta, cambia tu suscripción a la modalidad Premium, así podrás añadir otro usuario. Cada uno accederá con su propia cuenta de email, lo que os permitirá personalizar vuestra experiencia en EL PAÍS.

En el caso de no saber quién está usando tu cuenta, te recomendamos cambiar tu contraseña aquí.

Si decides continuar compartiendo tu cuenta, este mensaje se mostrará en tu dispositivo y en el de la otra persona que está usando tu cuenta de forma indefinida, afectando a tu experiencia de lectura. Puedes consultar aquí los términos y condiciones de la suscripción digital.

More information

Archived In

Recomendaciones EL PAÍS
Recomendaciones EL PAÍS