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News > Argentina

Argentina: Massa Dominated Milei in Presidential Debate

  • Argentine presidential candidates Javier Milei (L) and Sergio Massa (R), Nov. 12, 2023.

    Argentine presidential candidates Javier Milei (L) and Sergio Massa (R), Nov. 12, 2023. | Photo: X/ @ukigoni

Published 13 November 2023

While Sergio Massa proposed concrete actions for the well-being of the people, Javier Milei only reaffirmed his adherence to neoliberalism.

On Sunday night, Argentine presidential candidates Sergio Massa (Union for the Homeland) and Javier Milei (Freedom Advances) took center stage in the final debate before the runoff on November 19.


Massa Ahead of Milei in Argentina’s Presidential Runoff - Poll

Throughout the debate, both candidates delved into various topics, presenting new opportunities to showcase their proposals. On several occasions, Massa managed to noticeably discomfort the far-right Milei, who struggled to address each criticism against him.

Economy Minister Sergio Massa emphasized, "We must decide who will safeguard our health, education, and employment. I propose a significant change through an agreement on state policies that will be implemented with dialogue, consensus, and respect for diverse opinions."

Milei attempted to defend his far-right policy stance by stating, "Argentina has experienced 100 years of decline. This is a result of 'the caste' model, which asserts that a need generates a right. Needs are infinite, and those rights need to be paid for. This manifests itself with fiscal deficits."

Massa put Milei in a tight spot by exposing what the conservative politician had said earlier but now refuses to admit: "There's a lot at stake here. We are dealing with someone who lied throughout the entire campaign or is lying now," the progressive candidate pointed out.

According to the Economy Minister, "In a tumultuous world, Argentina has the responsibility to shape its foreign policy in defense of Argentine interests. We must consider multipolarity and establish relationships with all countries that open their doors to Argentine products. Argentina's main trading partners are Brazil and China, and we must defend a trade agenda that provides employment for two million Argentines."

Massa also reminded everyone that Milei referred to Pope Francis as "the representative of evil on Earth," which constitutes an offense to the most significant Argentine in the country's history.

The progressive candidate asked Milei to acknowledge his true position on Argentina's claim to the Malvinas Islands since the far-right politician previously expressed admiration for Margaret Thatcher, who was the direct responsible for a war in which Argentine soldiers died.

Milei tried to evade the implications of his ideological positions by saying, "Thatcher was a great leader like Churchill or De Gaulle. She played a significant role during the fall of the Berlin Wall."

Regarding education and health, Milei denied that his intention is to privatize public services, although he had clearly and explicitly stated this in various previous instances.

In contrast, Massa reaffirmed that his administration would increase investment in education to reach 8 percent of the GDP, create 753 preschool centers, promote literacy, introduce robotics into the mandatory school curriculum, and establish shorter university programs.

All of this will be possible because Argentina has created conditions for employment growth in 2024, said Massa, who rejected indiscriminate trade liberalization because it will destroy jobs and impoverish thousands of families.

In the final stage of the debate, Massa and Milei summarized the reasons why they want to reach the presidency. Sergio Massa affirmed the need to form a "government of unity" focused on implementing a program to strengthen economic growth, citizen security, and the well-being of citizens. The progressive candidate urged voters not to choose a path that leads to violence and hatred.

Javier Milei concluded by stating that Argentina must ask itself if it wants to continue "traveling the decadent path" and "supporting this parasitic, criminal, and useless political caste." These messages reaffirmed his anti-political and anti-state stance and his adherence to neoliberalism, which promotes solutions based on private initiative.

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