Sunday, May 26, 2024

CULTURE | 02-05-2024 16:43

Milei cancels presentation at Book Fair, blaming 'Kirchnerite sabotage'

Amid controversy over national government’s attitude towards the Buenos Aires International Book Fair, President Javier Milei switches his book launch to Luna Park.

President Javier Milei has cancelled an event unveiling of his new non-fiction work at the Book Fair International Book Fair, alleging that some sectors of Kirchnerism want “to sabotage his presentation.”

Argentina’s head of state was due to appear on May 12 at the La Rural exhibition centre in Buenos Aires to present his new book, Capitalismo, socialismo y la trampa neoclásica (“Capitalism, socialism and the neoclassical trap”), though his planned performance had drawn criticism from the organisers of the book fair, who said they had not been consulted in advance. 

Milei, 53, said in a radio interview Wednesday that the behaviour of certain individuals had been “unbecoming of culture.” Cancelling his event live on air, he said he would promote the book with an appearance at the Luna Park arena on May 22 instead.

He will be accompanied at the launch, as he was to be at the book fair, by La Libertad Avanza deputy José Luis Espert.

Milei has been at odds with the event’s authorities in recent weeks. On Wednesday, he complained about strong hostility towards him during negotiations with the fair’s authorities, the Fundación El Libro, and its chief Alejandro Vaccaro.

He said that talks had been led by his sister, presidential chief-of-staff Karina Milei, but that they both suspected the authorities might “sabotage the presentation Kirchnerite-style, violently.”

“We have been threatened, a behaviour unbecoming of culture and we can’t be exposed to a blockade,” Milei alleged, saying Vaccaro had delivered a “violent and unbecoming speech” that was littered with “falsehoods.”

In his own interview, Vaccaro denied those claims, saying that “25 people from the production company, the Casa Militar [presidential security team] and even the President’s Office” had been involved in talks.

“We agreed on everything, what the fences would be like, everything,” he said, revealing that the government had requested some 5,000 tickets free of charge for the book fair.

The head of the Fundación del Libro said the fair had a limit of 200 free tickets for special guests and that granting such numbers would’ve cost the event some 25 million pesos.

“We said we couldn’t do it. It’s the only thing we said no to … there’s no reason for us to give 5,000 free tickets in a complex socio-economic context, where our organisation’s economic equation is pushed to the limit.”

“We were clear, we wanted the President to come,” Vaccaro continued. “But they must have assessed that it wasn’t convenient.”

”It’s a trap: it now turns out that Milei’s not coming because we don’t want him to,” he said sarcastically.

“The only truth, I think, is that he’ll present his book at Luna Park. As for any hostility towards his presence, not at all,” he added.

“If you assess it with a bit of distance, it’s better for the Fair if he comes, if he’s involved, to make it a party, for his followers to be able to listen to him. It’s the best thing for us as organisers of a pluralistic fair, which we always host,” he concluded.

National deputy Lilia Lemoine (La Libertad Avanza) came to the aid of her boss, criticising the fair’s authorities and describing the event as “a hostage of cultural Marxism”.

“It’s the director of the Book Fair who’s against culture, going on television attacking Javier Milei. The Book Fair is an event that is a hostage of cultural Marxism, like so many others for years now,” the libertarian lawmaker and former cosplayer posted on the X social media network.


President heads to Los Angeles

President Javier Milei is due to travel today to Los Angeles in the United States for an express visit that will see him participate in the Milken Institute Forum, which brings together businessmen, bankers, CEOs and major investment funds. 

Milei, 53, is one of the main speakers at the event, which runs from May 5 through 8. He will be accompanied on his trip by Cabinet Chief Nicolás Posse, Economy Minister Luis Caputo, presidential chief-of-staff Karina Milei and Ambassador to the United States, Gerardo Werthein.

The La Libertad Avanza leader’s speech is expected to focus on his administration’s efforts to deregulate Argentina’s economy and promote free trade. One rumoured meeting could be with FIFA President Gianni Infantino, who will also be present at the event.

This will be Milei’s first trip overseas since he backtracked on his vow to use commercial flights for foreign visits. Security concerns meaan the head of state will now use the presidential flight. For this trip he will use the Boeing 757-256 known as ‘ARG 01,’ which was purchased during former president Alberto Fernández’s time in office.

Milei intends to depart Buenos Aires later today, arriving back on Tuesday, May 7.

At the end of May, the President intends to travel to Madrid to attend an event organised by the far-right party Vox. 

In June, he will travel to Italy for the G7 summit, also visiting Madrid once again.


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