Once inaugurated, Argentina’s President Javier Milei shocked and confounded his critics and even his enthusiasts by ditching the excessive rhetoric, the histrionics, the chainsaw yielding, and even some of his most extreme proposals.
He implemented a hard, tough but necessary economic ‘shock therapy’ that is capitalism 101 and has managed to balance Argentina’s newfound appreciation for the United States with the necessary coexistence with Brazil and China, Argentina’s biggest trade partners.
Financial Times reported:
“The 53-year-old political novice — whose previous guises have included tantric sex guru, mystic, fanatical dog lover, ultra-libertarian, maverick intellectual and soccer player — has undergone a dramatic shift in image since the campaign, dressing soberly and speaking in serious, statesmanlike terms.”
After his landslide victory over the putrefying Peronist establishment, Milei’s unveiled a surprisingly mainstream economic plan of spending cuts and tax rises on Tuesday to balance the budget – a shock of capitalism.
“A previous pledge to adopt the US dollar as the national currency was shelved, and there was no mention of the most radical ideas Milei supported during the campaign, such as legalizing the sale of human organs or cutting ties with Brazil and China, Argentina’s biggest trading partners.
‘It’s as if he suddenly shed his costume’, noted one senior diplomat, praising the president’s newfound pragmatism after having described him during the campaign as a leap into the unknown.
Milei’s economy minister, former Wall Street trader Luis Caputo, announced this week that he was devaluing the peso by 54 per cent rather than dumping it. Instead of burning down the central bank, Caputo appointed a former investment bank colleague.”
And the Milei surprises went much further than the purely political ones, as the new President has moved towards converting to Judaism.
“Before taking office Milei, who was brought up Catholic, travelled to New York to pray at the tomb of Menachem Mendel Schneerson, a renowned Orthodox rabbi hailed by some followers as the Messiah. “He had made a prayer there before the election and after winning, he felt he had to return as president-elect to give thanks to God,” said a person familiar with the trip.”
Milei has been studying the Torah, and has publicly expressed interest in converting to Judaism, an unusual move towards a minute minority in Argentina.