Interviews, official ceremonies and presidential debates were the stage for exchanging accusations on 8 different occasions
Javier Milei was elected president of Argentina on Sunday (19.Nov.2023) with 55.69% of the votes. The economist’s victory was commented by his Brazilian counterpart, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (PT), without any mention of his name.
Lula also didn’t call Milei after the victory. According to Secom (Secretariat of Social Communication of the Presidency of the Republic), it would be up to the Argentinean to make the first contact. The Brazilian president was reportedly offended by a comment made by Milei in September and was awaiting an apology. At the time, the Argentine called him “socialist with totalitarian vocation”.
The exchange of criticism between politicians marked the period of the Argentine electoral campaign and the first days after the result. From September 7th to November 21st, the two spoke negatively about each other on at least 7 (Milei) and 5 (Lula) separate occasions. Interviews, official ceremonies and presidential debates were the stage for accusations.
LULA’S CRITICISM OF MILEI
When the results of the Argentine polls were confirmed, on Sunday (Nov 19), Lula chose to congratulate the country’s institutions instead of congratulating the newly elected. On Tuesday (Nov 21), the PT member said that he did not have to be friends with Latin American presidents. “I don’t have to like the president of Chile, Argentina, Venezuela”, he declared.
Without directly quoting Milei, the PT member also declared that Latin America was experiencing “some confusion”. On the same day, Lula mocked a “new economic experience” that had emerged in the region.
In another indirect way, Lula said that Argentina needed a president who “like democracy” e “respect institutions”. The statement was given on November 14 during the government program “Conversation with President”.
About 1 month earlier, on September 20, again without mentioning names, Lula compared Milei to former president Jair Bolsonaro (PL) in a conversation with US president Joe Biden. Bolsonaro is a supporter of the Argentine libertarian.
During a meeting in New York, the PT member said that “the denial of politics has caused extremist sectors to try to occupy a space due to the denial of politics throughout the world”. According to him, Argentina was going through this experience, which had already happened in Brazil. At the time, Milei was ahead in the presidential race, with 31.1% of intentions. He had already led the votes in the primary elections, held on August 13, with 30.06%.
Although Lula never publicly declared support for Sergio Massaa Peronist opponent of Milei in the election, his party released a note in favor of the election of the Peronist candidate on November 5th – 15 days before the 2nd round.
On the date of the 2nd round, the first lady of the Republic of Brazil, Janja da Silvashared an illustration of the Argentine character Mafalda with a comment in support of Massa on her profile on X (formerly Twitter).
Lula should not go to Milei’s inauguration, scheduled for December 10th. The Argentine president-elect said that, if he attends, the Brazilian president will be well received.
CRITICISM OF MILEI A LULA
Javier Milei has been more vocal in his disapproval of the president of Brazil, with direct mentions of Lula’s name. In one of his most recent statements, on November 8, in an interview with the Argentine newspaper Clarionthe economist called the PT member “communist” e “corrupt” and said that if he were elected, they would not meet.
Milei had already stated, in an interview with the magazine Economistthat Lula was a “socialist with totalitarian vocation” and that they would have nothing to talk about. The economist also said that the Lula government would be moving against press freedom and persecuting opponents. “I can’t endorse“, he stated.
The Argentine also accused the Brazilian of acting against his candidacy and interfering in his country’s elections through financial collaboration with Massa’s campaign.
Lula was also at the center of an argument between Milei and Massa during the last presidential debate, on November 12. The winner of the elections reiterated that he would not maintain relations with countries he considered communist, including Brazil. “What’s the problem if I don’t talk to Lula?“, he questioned.
During her campaign, Milei received support from Bolsonaro and his children. On Monday (Nov 20), federal deputy Eduardo Bolsonaro (PL-SP) published a record of a video call between him, his father and the Argentine. In the publication, the congressman repeated the allegation of attempted fraud by the Brazilian president.
“Lula tried to interfere in the Argentine election in favor of Massa, the SP Forum candidate, but was unsuccessful”, he wrote on his X profile.
The former president and deputy confirmed their presence at the Argentine’s inauguration.