President Alberto Fernández sparked controversy on Thursday, describing libertarian lawmaker Javier Milei as a “threat to democracy” and Argentina.
Warning of the consequences of hateful rhetoric, the Frente de Todos leader even made the point that Nazi Germany leader Adolf “Hitler also got in by votes” during an interview with Modo Fontevecchia on NET TV and Radio Perfil.
Underlining the dangers of polarisation and anti-establishment candidates, Fernández responded to a question about Milei by describing him as a "threat."
“Totalitarians use democracy to gain access to power, and there are many examples in human history. [Adolf] Hitler did not come through a coup d'état, he came through the German people's vote. What we have to do is to warn people that, however discouraged they may be, these are not healthy paths for the country,” said the president.
Asked about his own intentions for the coming year, Fernández again refused to say he would run for another term.
“My concern is not to be re-elected, but that Argentina does not go backwards by putting back in government those who condemned us to this damned debt we have with the IMF and private creditors,” he declared, slamming his predecessor in office, Mauricio Macri, who left Argentina with a US$44.5-billion debt with the International Monetary Fund.
“My priority is not to be a candidate, my priority is for the Frente de Todos to win. If it turns out that I end up being the best candidate, I will be, but if it is someone else I will also support him and I will gladly accompany them,” said Fernández.
Quizzed as to how his meeting the previous day with US President Joe Biden had gone, Argentina’s Peronist leader said it was “a necessary and very useful meeting” that contained “frank discussions.”
“We have 200 years of diplomatic relations, in fact the United States is the leading investor in Argentina and the largest importer of lithium from our country.” declared the president.
“I had told Biden that, in the context of the war between Russia and Ukraine, we had to join forces to meet the world's demands, such as food and energy. “Yesterday we talked again in detail about possible alternatives and the president proposed a meeting with the most important officials from both governments. This allowed us to have a frank discussion on the issues of concern and the possibilities for the future,” continued Fernández.
“The best thing about this meeting is that it went beyond protocol and was a working meeting where we were able to discuss our difficulties and needs with the international lending agencies,” he said, offering praise for Washington’s support for Argentina’s demands.
Fernández also spoke about the ideological sympathies between his and Biden’s administration.
“I think that Biden expresses a Keynesian view of the economy and that is where Peronism is similar,” said Biden. “It is a view that understands capital as a mechanism of production and social development, rather than a mechanism of financial speculation as liberalism understands it.”
Argentina’s president went on to highlight Biden’s disbelief of “trickle down economics,” something he described as “something unthinkable for any Latin American to hear from the mouth of a US president.”
“I would say that what the trip should leave us with as a reflection is that Argentina is in a good place in the world and we should take advantage of this moment. We are also going through difficulties, due to the drought,” he continued.
“What we have ahead of us is a promising future that will be solved by moving forward, that is why I ask the Argentines not to believe again in those who now say, with total impunity, the things they say, because when they governed, they plunged the country into a crisis from which we are still struggling to emerge,” said Fernández.
“It is going to take many generations of Argentines to get out of the debt crisis and, no matter how much the publicists show people disguised as statesmen, they are the ones who caused the greatest crisis in Argentina's memory and who in just two years accumulated a debt that generations of Argentines will have to pay for,” concluded the president.