“With Milei, the Argentine Immigrants in Alaska Could Perhaps Return”
by carlos matías
Almost 21% of the Argentine diaspora lives in the United States, around 31,700 people, of whom less than 0.5% live in Alaska. With Javier Milei’s election victory, these expatriates could have hope of returning to their country.
Sol de Medianoche spoke with political scientist Julio Burdman, director of the Buenos Aires-based Observatorio Electoral.
Was Milei’s victory a surprise? No. Milei united most Argentines who wanted to vote against the government. He managed to express the concerns of Argentine society about the economy. He is an economist with very radical proposals, but they are understandable to the country’s public opinion.
And how can we understand the “Milei phenomenon?” You have to enter the Argentine political dynamic and understand his economic proposals, which are very different from those of Trump and the European right. Milei is not a protectionist; he wants to open markets and liberalize trade, unlike Trump. It is difficult to find socially conservative speeches in Milei. He is much more liberal.
What discourse does Milei have for Argentine emigrants in the United States? I don’t think any particular one. I know he has done very well in the United States. But Milei conveys the idea that, with him, Argentina is once again an attractive country to return to for those who have left. Is America’s future doomed to populism? Right-wing and nationalist movements are labelled populist. That is what happens in Europe and the United States. But in Latin America, populism is typical of different political movements, left and right. It is for everyone. In Milei’s case, populism undoubtedly exists because it groups voters against what he calls “the caste,” the state elite. But Milei considers himself a fervent anti-populist because he believes that populism uses the government’s public spending discretionarily to please the people, causing fiscal and financial imbalances.
What are the differences between Latin American populism and that of the United States? Milei is related to Trumpism or Bolsonarism, which do not claim populism as their own characteristic. In fact, it has some elements in common, an emerging political leadership against the political, economic, and cultural elite. There is a rise of populism all over the world because we find new forms of relationship between political leadership and people, against some enemy (the “elites.”)This phenomenon is linked to modern political communication in social networks. They create the illusion that political leaderships are in direct contact with the public against the established powers. It is no coincidence that many of these right-wing and left-wing political populisms are not only directed against political or economic “elites,” but also against the press. They see the media as an established power, the “fourth estate.” The universalization of the phenomenon of contemporary populism has many explanations, and one of them is communicational.
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