Just over a month before he was elected as the next president of Argentina, Javier Milei’s supporters heard a rap because the “anarcho-capitalist” and self-described tantric sex expert brought a “chainsaw” to the “parasitic” state.
An Anglophile with an Austin Powers haircut and outsize sideburns who once fronted a Rolling Stones tribute band, Mr. Milei was reveling in the crowd’s adulation that day, waving his arms frenetically as a conductor in time with the chant.
“We’re going to kick them in the a—, right out of office,” he shouted.
From time to time, in the cavernous conference center on the outskirts of the Argentine capital, the audience of thousands interrupted the liberal economist’s anti-establishment diatribe to sing: “The caste is afraid.”
It was the term Mr Milei, 53, used during his campaign to dismiss the entire ideological spectrum of traditional politicians, everyone from the Argentine equivalent of Corbynistas to the European Research Group.
He blamed them all equally for a collapsing economy in a country that a century ago was one of the wealthiest countries in the world, exporting huge amounts of grain, wool and beef. Inflation now tops 120 percent and the poverty rate is 40 percent.
The radical outsider promised “the reconstruction of Argentina” when he was voted in on Sunday night. But many Argentines remained very concerned about the future of their country.
Their horror stemmed in part from Mr Milei’s strong views on deregulation and privatization – he advocated a free market in human organs and even unwanted children – but also from the man’s eccentric personal style seen as a loner for life.
I wonder if he has the heart to lead the troubled society of 46 million.
“No,” said Juan Luis González, a prominent journalist and author of El Loco, an unauthorized biography of Mr. Milei, when asked earlier this year whether Mr. Milei was fit to be president.
“I am very concerned about his political ideas, which I think cannot be implemented in Argentina. But they worry me much less than Milei’s emotional instability. When he’s angry on TV, it’s not an act. He is very angry.”
Who is ‘El Loco’?
Based on anonymous interviews with Mr Milei’s personal contacts, El Loco is full of psychic revelations, including that the candidate hears “voices”, believes God told him to enter politics, and speaks with his dead English mastiff, Conan – named after him. Conan the Barbarian – through medium.
Mr. Milei did not respond to El Loco. But his campaign dismissed the book as “lies” aimed at hurting his chances. However, The Telegraph has confirmed one of El Loco’s more outrageous allegations, confirming with the Massachusetts-based company Perpetuate that he had cloned Conan, resulting in Mr. Miles.
One of them is named Milton and another Friedman, for the scholar who helped found the neo-liberal school of economics.
Despite being a polite free-market nerd in private, Mr. Milei is always spouted, infectiously hyperbolic on stage. Highlights include calling a female journalist an “ass” and accusing her companion Pope Francis of being an “imbecile” and a “representative of evil in the world”.
The son of a bus driver and a housewife, Mr. Milei’s childhood in Buenos Aires’ bohemian district of Palermo was, by his own account, unhappy. His father, Norberto, regularly humiliated him and bullied him at school. His mother, Alicia, was cold and unloving, he said.
The only saving grace was his sister, Karina, who he is still very close to and who is considered to be his first wife.
Mr. González tells the story of Karina getting weak and having to take him to the hospital when Norberto once beat her brother. Alicia then accused the boy of almost killing his sister. Although they are now partially reconciled, Mr Milei admitted that he had not spoken to his parents for the past ten years.
He eventually went on to study economics and play, briefly, as a goalkeeper for his local football team, Chacarita Juniors, in the second division in Argentina. He was then an adviser to Eduardo Eurnekian, one of the richest men in Argentina. Mr Eurnekian’s companies include AA2000, which operates most of the country’s airports.
It is here that Mr. Milei rose to national prominence, becoming a regular guest on television, standing out from the others speaking economics for his ability to offend and wildly off-topic, including claims that he was Eastern spirituality turbocharged his sex life.
‘There are two sides to it’
Although a popular TikTok and TV personality, Mr. Milei remains a homebody who loves to be surrounded by his dogs and books and whose social circle is mostly limited to his sister. He reportedly had his first long-term relationship at 47. Since August, he has been dating Fátima Florez, a photogenic comedian who imitates former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner.
“He has two sides, the violent one, who screams and fights with everyone, and the lonely 12-year-old who wants love and approval,” said Mr. González.
But Milei separated the man from Milei the policy could be excessive, given the chaos feared that he would drop his plans to dollarize the economy, close the central bank and 10 of Argentina’s 18 government ministries, and privatize health care and education through vouchers. for the poor. For good measure, he talks about ending diplomatic relations with “communist” countries, including Brazil and China, Argentina’s two largest trading partners.
“He wants to get rid of the word ‘rights’ from the dictionary, be it labor rights, the right to abortion, gender rights or the right to sexual identity,” said Carlos de Angelis, a sociologist who used to appear on television. Mr. Miley. and believes the candidate is “on the edge” of authoritarianism. “To him, it’s just privileges.”
Dollarization would require an estimated $40 billion (£32.8bn), experts say, which Argentina does not have money for and would probably be unable to borrow. Mr Milei has suggested that the first stage could be open competition between currencies, with Argentina using “gold, the Swiss Franc or the pound”, as each prefers.
“He does not explain how he will implement his policies,” said Tomas Borovinsky, a political scientist at the University of San Martin in Argentina. “He’s still saying ‘We’ll see.’”
One of Mr Milei’s few friends, Diego Giacomini, an economist with whom he co-wrote a book before the estranged pair, accused Mr Milei of wanting to be “king”. Mr Eurnekian said his former adviser should learn respect and “shut his mouth”.
But despite – or perhaps because of – his eccentric persona, Mr Milei, who is often compared to Donald Trump, has faced public anger at Argentina’s economic squeeze.
“Milei is riding the zeitgeist,” Mr. Borovinsky said. “This image of a cool rocker, with his leather jacket, shouting insults and being politically incorrect is perfect for the moment. Voters want to punish politicians.”