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Milei and the First Step of a Journey of a Thousand Miles

2023-12-03T23:35:35.672Z

Highlights: Javier Milei will take office as president of Argentina on Sunday. He will have to deal with a society that is fed up, unequal, impatient and fragmented. Milei voters are eager to evict any vestige of Kirchnerism from the Casa Rosada. How do you rebuild a social fabric that is so damaged and divided? It won't happen overnight or across the board, says Juan Carlos Gómez-Santiago, a former president of the country.


In addition to the economy and the crisis, Milei will have to deal with a society that is fed up, unequal, impatient and fragmented.


"The Unexpected President." This is what José Natanson called in his book the Néstor Kirchner who, 20 years ago, arrived at the Casa Rosada from the south of Patagonia. Next Sunday, another unexpected man, Javier Milei, will receive the presidential baton and sash. And a devastated Argentina, in the midst of one of the worst crises in a country that has made critical situations its normality.

A very brief review shows an inflation of 160% per year, with a projection of more than 300% for next year; poverty that exceeds 40% and reaches 6 out of 10 children; a GDP per capita 56% lower than just six years ago; a blue dollar of $69.50 when Alberto Fernández took office, which today is around $1,000, and Ezeiza as the only prospect of exit not only for the youngest but also for those over 50, driven by insecurity, economic debacle, corruption, suffocating bureaucracy and violence of all kinds.

It is part of the inheritance that Milei will have to take care of. Before taking office, picket marches are already planned for December 19 and 20, and a "washing of hands" by the outgoing government: the Deputy Minister of Economy, Gabriel Rubisntein, blamed Milei for November's inflation index. Cristina Kirchner came out to talk about a "social catastrophe" based on the stagflation forecast launched by the president-elect and the still president Fernández rehearsed a defense of his administration, saying that "poverty is poorly measured, and that if there were 40%, the country would be exploding", to which the expert Agustín Salvia replied that if the social plans were taken out, poverty would be 50 per cent.

But there is another legacy that Milei will have to deal with, and in which many of the votes that led him to victory nest. A society that is exhausted, profoundly unequal, fed up with the political practices that led to this state of affairs, impatient and fragmented. Deeply fragmented with a rift that Néstor and Cristina Kirchner grew, from which Mauricio Macri also benefited, that deepened with Alberto Fernández and that has just added a new chapter, with mileistas, anti-mileistas, and Milei voters not very convinced of the candidate but eager to evict any vestige of Kirchnerism from the Casa Rosada.

How do you rebuild a social fabric that is so damaged and divided? It won't happen overnight or across the board. What is needed is a genuine vocation to overcome divisions from power, accompanied, more than by declamations, by concrete gestures.

Nor is it a question of being naïve or voluntaristic. In 1999, Daniel Barenboim and Edward Said launched what seemed like a utopia: the West-Eastern Divan, an orchestra made up of Israeli and Arab musicians to demonstrate that, with a common goal, coexistence and understanding are possible. There were societies there that were historically at odds. In the midst of the current conflict, the orchestra continues to function. For example, Palestinian violinist Abdel Kader was moved to receive support from someone "on the other side, the side you learned to hate. Now it's time to remove the walls... The moment you look someone in the eye and understand that we are just the same," he reflected.

Apart from all distances, perhaps the example will do. At the neighborhood level, at the school level, at the neighborhood level, in small organizations. Perhaps it will be a starting point for the country to come. As Lao-Tzu said, "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a first step."

See also

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Two Challenges for Javier Milei: The Bukele Effect and the PRO Rift

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Source: clarin

All news articles on 2023-12-03

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