Articulations are growing, inside and outside Argentina, to try to prevent Javier Milei from becoming president. One day after the release of a manifesto signed by 108 intellectuals, saying that the ultraliberal candidate’s proposals are “potentially very harmful” to Argentina’s economy and its inhabitants, two other similar initiatives came to light this Friday (10).
One of them is a letter signed by several former presidents, such as Michelle Bachelet (Chile) and José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero (Spain), as well as academics and intellectuals, who call for voting for the Peronist candidate Sergio Massa in the second round — on the 19th. — to “put a brake on Milei’s anti-democratic stances”. They question the candidate’s “neoliberal proposals”, which, according to them, “in the past, were lethal for Argentine society and the entire region”.
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According to the text, those who support the manifesto are betting on “the end of the division and polarization that impede progress” and call for the replacement of “hatred and sectarianism with reflection, to recover national harmony”.
Other signatories are former presidents Vinicio Cerezo (Guatemala), Leonel Fernández (Dominican Republic), Jose Maria Figueres (Costa Rica), as well as Nobel Peace Prize winners Adolfo Perez Esquivel (Argentina) and Rigoberta Menchú (Guatemala), among others.
Domestically, support came from radicals, a political group historically opposed to Peronism and which, institutionally, is neutral in the second round. More than 200 leaders of so-called radicalism, from several generations, demonstrated publicly and urged the Argentine electorate to “defend coexistence and defeat hatred”, voting for Massa.
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They emphasize that they continue to oppose the current government, of which Massa is Economy Minister, and that they will oppose whoever wins the election. But they claim that they decided to encourage voting for the Peronist candidate “to defeat the Freedom Forward formula (name of Milei’s coalition), which threatens radical values and Argentine society”.
The text also mentions “anti-democratic stances” by Milei, who allegedly made “gross insults” to former presidents Hipólito Yrigoyen (1916-1922 and 1928-1930) and Raúl Alfonsín (1983-1989). In the case of Alfonsín, they refer to the decision to judge and condemn crimes during the dictatorship, “the basis of the democratic pact that banished the coups d’état”. The document has the signature of radicals from across the country.
The former governor of Salta, Juan Manuel Urtubey, stated that “there is no room for neutrality in today’s Argentina” and stated that the “national agreement” proposed by Sergio Massa is based on placing work and production at the center of the debate.
“In this second round, we have to choose between two models not only of social organization, but of coexistence among Argentines, and Sergio Massa is moving forward with an enormous process of opening, in search of a great national agreement,” he told a radio station .
Urtubey clarified that he considers himself “a Peronist opposed to the current government”, but says he was “enthusiastic” with the Peronist candidate’s proposal.
(With information from El País and Page 12)
Editing: Leandro Melito