In the countdown to Argentina’s presidential election, a surprising and unprecedented opposition movement has emerged, bringing together unlikely allies from different walks of life. One of the most unexpected factions within this movement is a group of Catholic priests who have taken it upon themselves to warn their communities about what they perceive as a threat to democracy.
Led by Rodolfo Viano, a 64-year-old Franciscan, these priests have been traversing the working-class neighborhoods of Buenos Aires, distributing leaflets and engaging in conversations with undecided voters. Their goal is to encourage these individuals to “make the best decision possible” without succumbing to hate or anger.
At the heart of their concerns is Javier Milei, a brash libertarian economist whose populist rhetoric has mobilized a significant following. Drawing comparisons to figures like Donald Trump and Jair Bolsonaro, Milei has capitalized on the frustration and anger of Argentines who have witnessed their country’s economic crisis worsening over the past two decades.
Recognizing the potential danger of a Milei presidency, these priests have joined forces with other unlikely allies. Academic researchers, leading economists, victims of the military dictatorship, soccer clubs, and even die-hard Taylor Swift fans have all spoken out against Milei. Their collective efforts aim to raise awareness about the consequences of electing a candidate who promises to dismantle the political establishment.
This wave of “micro-activism” has engulfed Argentina’s presidential campaign, with people who are not typically politically active taking to the streets to express their concerns. The impact of this grassroots movement on the final outcome of the election remains uncertain, especially considering the limited success of similar campaigns in other countries like the United States and Brazil.
What sets this opposition movement apart is the involvement of religious leaders, particularly Catholic priests, who have taken an unusually active role in campaigning against Milei. 40 priests have even released a letter stating their moral obligation to prevent Milei from becoming president. Pope Francis himself has indirectly criticized Milei’s ideology, referring to it as a “messianic” solution to the crisis.
Despite the efforts of these priests and other activists, political analysts suggest that the fears surrounding a Milei presidency may be exaggerated. Many voters are more preoccupied with the pressing economic situation and have lost faith in the traditional political system. They believe that a drastic change is necessary to address the country’s deep-rooted issues.
Milei’s proposed policies, such as shutting down the central bank and implementing significant spending cuts, have both alarmed and attracted voters. His surprising success in the primaries sent shockwaves through the economy and contributed to a shift in the polls in favor of his competitor, Sergio Massa. However, in the final stretch leading up to the election, Milei has managed to gain support from the center-right establishment, narrowing the gap between him and Massa.
Moving forward, the fate of Argentina’s democracy rests in the hands of its voters. While opposition to Milei has united various groups, it remains to be seen whether their collective efforts will be enough to sway those who are demanding change, regardless of the potential risks.
Who is Javier Milei?
Javier Milei is a brash libertarian economist who has gained popularity in Argentina for his populist rhetoric and promises to dismantle the political establishment.
Why are Catholic priests opposing Milei?
Catholic priests, along with other groups, see Milei as a threat to democracy and have taken an active role in voicing their concerns about his candidacy.
What is the grassroots anti-Milei movement?
The grassroots anti-Milei movement encompasses various individuals and groups who are actively campaigning against Milei and his proposed policies.
What are some criticisms of Milei?
Milei has faced criticism for his tendency to clash with the news media, his unsubstantiated claims about electoral fraud, and his running mate’s advocacy for soldiers convicted of human rights abuses during Argentina’s dictatorship.
[source: Washington Post]