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TOPIC: argentina


Javier Milei, Revolt Of The Global Disaffected Is Far From Over

Argentina has elected a "paleolibertarian" outsider with little experience, and by a wide margin. What does this say about the existing structures of power around the democratic world?


PARIS — If it were only a matter of far-right politics, the election of Javier Milei as Argentina's next president would fit into a relatively classic electoral pattern. But this winner, with a very comfortable 56% of votes, is much more than that: this is what makes his case intriguing and raises troubling questions.

He is first and foremost a "radical libertarian," according to the Financial Times , which generally does not engage in hyperbole. Or "paleolibertarian," a doctrine that advocates "anarcho-capitalism," according to the French website Le Grand Continent.

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Libertarianism is a political philosophy born in the United States that advocates for total individual freedom in the face of state power. Javier Milei, who has a way with words, summarizes it as follows: "Between the mafia and the state, I prefer the mafia. The mafia has codes, it keeps its commitments, it does not lie, it is competitive."

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Milei Elected: Argentina Bets It All On "Anything Is Better Than This"

The radical libertarian Javier Milei confounded the polls to decisively win the second round of Argentina's presidential elections; now he must win over a nation that has voiced its disgust with the country's brand of politics as usual.


BUENOS AIRES — Two very clear messages were delivered by Argentine society with its second-round election of the libertarian politician Javier Milei as its next president.

The first was to say it was putting a definitive end to the Kirchner era , which began in 2003 with the presidency of the late Néstor Kirchner and lasted, in different forms, until last night.

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The second was to choose the possibility, if nothing else, of a future that allows Argentina to emerge from its longstanding state of prostration. It's a complicated bet, because the election of the candidate of Libertad Avanza (Liberty Advances) is so radical and may entail changes to the political system so big as to defy predictions right now.

This latter is the bigger of the two key consequences of the election, but the voters turning their back on the government of Cristina and Alberto Fernández and its putative successor, (the Economy minister) Sergio Massa, also carries historical significance. They could not have said a clearer No to that entrenched political clan. So much so that they decided to trust instead a man who emerged in 2021 as a member of parliament, with a weak party structure behind him and a territorial base no bigger than three mayors in the Argentine hinterland.

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Milei's Victory In Argentina: The Cult Of Personal Freedom At All Costs

Javier Milei has scored a stunning victory on a populist far-right platform promising maximum personal liberties and a shrunken state. But the deep rifts and economic hardship in Argentinian society present huge risks for the nation and its incoming president.

Updated Nov. 20, 2023 at 12:55 p.m.

- Analysis-

BUENOS AIRES – Riding the cult of unfettered personal liberty, Javier Milei, the far-right populist Libertarian candidate, has scored a stunning victory to become Argentina's next president. The rival to Milei in Sunday's second-round runoff, Economy Minister Sergio Massa, called him to concede, trailing by a 10-point margin after nearly 90% of the vote was counted.

It's another populist victory in a major country (Indeed, former U.S .President Donald Trump was quick to congratulate Milei whom he said would "Make Argentina Great Again!"), and defied pollsters and the political establishment that questioned whether voters would elect someone who'd vowed to "blow up" the central bank and carry out major changes to the economy and politics.

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Milei had seemingly swayed a significant enough portion of public opinion by promising to unleash a new era where personal freedom would be supreme. Regularly exercising his freedom to shout at viewers, he had declared that, if elected , he would maximize liberties at the expense of state powers. But after October’s first-round results showed Miei trailing Massa, the runoff realized the worst fears of many that a society based almost solely around individualism was here to stay in Argentina

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The Demagogue's Biggest Lie: That We Don't Need Politics

Trashing politics and politicians is a classic tool of populists to seduce angry voters, and take countries into quagmires far worse than the worst years of democracy. It's a dynamic Argentina appears particularly vulnerable to.


BUENOS AIRES — I was 45 years old when I became a politician in Argentina , and abandoned politics a while back now. In 1987, Raúl Alfonsín , the civilian president who succeeded the Argentine military junta in 1983 , named me cabinet minister though I wasn't a member of his party, the Radicals, or any party for that matter. I was a historian, had worked as a lawyer, wrote newspapers articles and a book in 1985 on science and technology with chapters on cybernetics, artificial intelligence and genetic engineering.

That book led Alfonsín to ask me to join his government. My belated political career began in fact after I left the ministry and while it proved to be surprisingly lengthy, it is now over. I am currently writing a biography of a molecular biologist and developing a university course on technological perspectives ( futurology ).

Talking about myself is risky in a piece against 'anti-politics,' or the rejection of party politics. I do so only to make clear that I am writing without a personal interest. I am out of politics, and have never been a member of what Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni calls la casta , "the caste" — i.e., the political establishment.

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Julio César Londoño

An Unearthed García Márquez Essay Collection Reveals: "Gabo, The Chronicler"

A noted expert of the late Gabriel García Márquez is putting to rest the idea that the legendary Gabo was just a fantasist and man of fiction, revealing poignant and pointed essays and literary criticism.


BOGOTÁ — Call it a miracle, of sorts: we have a new book by Gabriel García Márquez, Colombia's late and perhaps greatest novelist. In fact, with painstaking effort, Fernando Jaramillo, a recognized expert on Gabo , has made an informal or "pirate" edition of the novelist's prologues.

His prologue to De sobremesa ('After Dinner'), a late 19th century novel (written as an "anxious" diary, and published in 1925) and the only one by the poet José Asunción Silva , is Gabo's longest piece of literary criticism. He writes of a passage in the book where a character, Helena, disappears: "The style, tone and lyrical breath, all stand out in the trembling, feverish evocations and quietly exploding apparitions. The writing becomes evanescent, ghostly and more in the romantic mode than the decadent style that marks the book."

In a detailed biography of Silva, Almas en pena, chapolas negras (Pained Souls, Black Butterflies) the author Fernando Vallejo shows how that eminently middle-class gentleman was also a sharp business operator — poet or not (he killed himself in 1896). Likewise, this unique piece of prose shows us all the virtues, and vices, of Garcia Márquez.

In his prologue to a book dedicated to Argentine-French writer Julio Cortázar , García Márquez recounts a train conversation with Cortázar and Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes "crossing the divided night of the Germanies, their oceans of beetroot, immense factories of everything, and the scars of atrocious wars and boundless love affairs."

How can one invent such an implausible construction as the "divided night?"

It is of course a hypallage , as it was Germany, not the night that was divided. But it's an easy switch if you happened to be crossing the Cold War border of the two German states, in the company of two literary giants, Fuentes and Cortázar, and you're Gabo , with his immense breadth and knowledge of us all ... not to mention of the night.

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Flavio Calvo

Therapy-Speak Seeps Into The Land Where Everyone Seems To Have A Shrink

Argentines readily discuss their moods and states of mind — and that's a good thing, as long as we don't pretend to actually diagnose each other, writes a psychologist.


BUENOS AIRES — Here are a few typical moments in Argentina : a girl is unwell, but her friend tells her it's all "psychosomatic." Another calls her partner "a narcissist ." Your mood changes; you conclude you must be bipolar. You forget something and call it a "memory lapse."

I heard someone tell a friend they were doing things "unconsciously," while in debates ahead of Argentina's presidential elections on Oct. 22, viewers are looking out for a "Freudian slip" from one of the candidates.

Every day we keep hearing people use terms meant, essentially, for the world of psychology and therapy. And that is due to psychology's increasing popularity in modern society — and especially in Argentina.

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food / travel
María Florencia Pérez

Argentine Chefs Dream Up A Luxury Kobe Sausage

Hot dog-loving Argentines even have a high-class sausage made entirely of tender Kobe beef, to be enjoyed without a thought for its price.

BUENOS AIRES — Argentines love sausage. They love them in a bun, as in the classic choripán , the local hot dog, or grilled at barbecues alongside its "other half," the blood sausage, or morcill a . And while the sausage is part of the day-to-day fare in this haven of carnivores , fancy sausages containing prime beef are also available, at up to five times the price.

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The standard chorizo criollo — or typical sausage mix of the southernmost part of South America — has beef and pork with a good 25-30% fat content, and is flavored with white wine and spice, and sometimes with red pepper and crushed chiles. Its upmarket cousin is all beef — and not just any kind, but Kobe beef, one of the most expensive in the world.

Kobe beef, made from the Wagyu cow breed, is Japanese and loved for its juicy tenderness and marbled texture. It arrived in Argentina 25 years ago, thanks to Luis Barcos, a vet and beef production specialist. That is when Argentines came to know of such exquisite cuts as the Wagyu ribeye steak, a prized item at any high-level barbecue .

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Migrant Lives
Alejandra Pataro

Latin America's Migrants Trying To Reach The U.S.: Risk It All, Fail, Repeat

Searching for a safe home, many Latin American migrants are forced to try, time after time, getting turned away, and then risk everything again.

BUENOS AIRES — With gangsters breathing down his neck, Maynor sold all of his possessions in Honduras, took his wife and three kids aged 11, 8 and 5, and set out northwards. He was leaving home for good, for the third time.

"I had to leave my country several times," he said, "but was deported." He was now trying to enter the U.S. again , but the family had become stuck in Mexico: "Things are really, really bad for us right now."

Migration in Latin America is no longer a linear process, taking migrants from one place to another. It goes in several directions. Certain routes will take you to one country as a stopover to another, but really, it's more a lengthy ordeal than a layover, and the winners are those who can find that receptive, welcoming community offering work and a better life.

The aid agency Doctors Without Borders (MSF) calls this an international, multidirectional phenomenon that may include recurring trips to and from a home country.

Marisol Quiceno, MSF's Advocacy chief for Latin America, told Clarín that migrants "are constantly looking for opportunities and for food security, dignified work opportunities (and) healthcare access." These are the "minimum basics of survival," she said, adding that people will keep looking if they did not find them the first time around.

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Guillermo Tella

In The Shantytowns Of Buenos Aires, Proof That Neighbors Function Better Than Cities

Residents of the most disadvantaged peripheries of the Argentine capital are pushed to collaborate in the absence of municipal support. They build homes and create services that should be public. It is both admirable, and deplorable.


BUENOS AIRES – In Argentina , the increasing urgency of the urban poor's housing and public services needs has starkly revealed an absence of municipal policies, which may even be deliberate.

With urban development, local administrations seem dazzled, or blinded, by the city center's lights. Thus they select and strengthen mechanisms that heighten zonal and social inequalities, forcing the less-well-off to live "on the edge" and "behind" in all senses of these words. Likewise, territorial interventions by social actors have both a symbolic and material impact, particularly on marginal or "frontier" zones that are the focus of viewpoints about living "inside," "outside" or "behind."

The center and the periphery produce very different social perceptions. Living on the periphery is to live "behind," in an inevitable state of marginality. The periphery is a complex system of inequalities in terms of housing provision, infrastructures, facilities and transport.

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Nahuel Gallotta

Pink Cocaine: Is There Fentanyl In Mystery "Dirty Drug" From Colombia?

Also known as 'Tuci,' the "designer drug" has been spreading in Latin America and globally over the past decade. But it's looking more and more like a dirty mix concocted by Colombian dealers with potentially devastating effects, particularly if it contains the deadly opioid fentanyl.

Updated Sep. 11, 2023 at 2:30 p.m.

BUENOS AIRES The "menu" of options, sent via WhatsApp, arrived like it always did, Josefina (not her real name) recalls. Only this time there was something that caught her eye besides the constantly increasing prices. "Tuci," it said.

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Jazmín Bazán

Patagonian National Park, A Fragile Beauty At The End Of The World

The Patagonian National Park is a spectacular and unique landscape that illustrates the outstanding beauty of nature. But it is at risk of becoming a victim of the climate crisis.

SANTA CRUZ — The northwestern corner of the Argentine province of Santa Cruz is the setting for the Patagonian National Park, an exquisitely neglected part of a region that has become a byword for escapism.

The songwriter Atahualpa Yupanqui called this windswept plateau, with its elevated floodplains and wetlands, the "night watchman of the Americas." Every day the sun shakes up an explosion of earthy colors here before night returns to cast over them a veil of subtle, indefinable mystery. In this merging point of glaciers and the eternal snows of the Zeballos peak, water in so many forms, a Yellow Cliff ( Cerro amarillo ), prehistoric artworks, volcanic cones and a star-lit sky, only one thing is certain — that nothing is still in this ethereal part of the earth.

Around the Lake Buenos Aires plateau , the park hosts a unique ecosystem of rare and endemic species such as the hooded grebe, and was the home of several prehispanic cultures that left their petroglyphs. The park has three entry points, with camping sites, bathing facilities and even catering options in peak visiting periods.

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Valeria Berghinz

Roe v Wade To Mexican Supreme Court: What's Driving Abortion Rights Around The World

A landmark decision Wednesday by the Mexican Supreme Court is part of a push in Latin America to expand abortion access. But as seen by the U.S. overturning Roe v. Wade last year, the issue is moving in different directions around the world.

Updated on September 8, 2023

PARIS — It has been 14 months and 15 days since the United States Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade , ruling that safe access to abortion is no longer a Constitutional right for American women.

For women in the rest of the world, the ruling reverberated on the weight of the U.S. judicial and cultural influence , with fears that it could have repercussions in their own courtrooms, parliaments and medical clinics.

Yet in what is perhaps the most momentous decision since Roe’s overturning, the U.S.’s southern neighbor, Mexico saw its own Supreme Court unanimously decree that abortion would be decriminalized nationwide, and inflicting any penalty on the medical procedure was “ unconstitutional … and a violation of the human rights of women and those capable of being pregnant.”

Mexico is the latest (and most populous) Latin American country to expand reproductive rights, even as their northern neighbor continues to take steps backward on the issue.

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