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Watch: Violent Scenes Outside Argentina Parliament as President Milei's Libertarian Policies Pass Senate

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Argentine President Javier Milei continues to spark the ire of leftists as he tries to rescue the country with his libertarian policies.

Milei’s victory in December against Sergio Massa came with promises to cut government spending and slash a number of government employees. While Milei has accomplished many of these promises, the Independent reported, his main task now is addressing Argentina’s growing recession as annual inflation approaches 300 percent.

On Wednesday night, Argentina’s Senate approved a tax package and a 238-article reform bill. While many individual measures are still left to be voted for on an article-by-article basis, Milei is drawing criticism as these new laws grant sweeping powers to the executive.

The president will have new authority in energy, pensions, security, and several other areas.

The legislation includes a declaration of a “public emergency in administrative, economic, financial and energy matters for a period of one year,” allowing for the executive to have authority to bypass Congress when acting.

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News of legislative efforts comes in the wake of Monday’s announcement by the International Monetary Fund that it will release more loans under a bailout program to help the country.

The government is expected to receive $792 million in June to revitalize markets and instill hope in bankers.

As the Senate approved these bills narrowly with a vote of 37-36 on Wednesday, riots erupted outside the National Congress building in Buenos Aires in opposition.

CNN reported, police used water cannons and tear gas while a TV station’s vehicle was flipped and set on fire.

Paramedics were on the scene, and five lawmakers in opposition to the new legislation went to the hospital, the Independent said.

The video from Global News showed the extent of unrest while those present commented on the Senate and Milei’s efforts.

Nicolás del Caño, a member of Congress and the Socialist Worker’s Party, commented prior to the passing legislation on privatization efforts — according to a Global News translation, “I think if the bill is approved, the rights of workers will be left in worse conditions. Afterwards, we’d need to enforce this law, and I think all groups have a responsibility to resist in order to stop this from advancing, for example, privatizations. We’re told some [privatizations] are going to be taken out of the law because many senators are feeling the pressure of the people. Regardless, they’ve said some companies will remain in the list to be privatized. Then, they need to actually be privatized. That’s where we’ll have to resist, to stop the selling of, the raffle of our national heritage.”

Activist and politician Luis D’Elía told Global News via translation, “We’ve drank this poison several times: to have zero inflation with zero economic activity, with government scrapping and foreign debt. This poison has failed several times in Argentina, and we won’t allow for this to carry on.”

Milei condemned protesters as “terrorists,” the Independent reported, believing they, “tried to mount a coup d’etat by attacking the normal functioning of the Argentine National Congress.” In an interview on Wednesday, he boldly proclaimed, “We are going to change Argentina, we are going to make it the most liberal country in the world.”

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While socialists and terrorists do not present any viable alternative to Milei’s initiatives as Argentina is in desperate need of action, do their criticisms and concerns carry any weight?

Despite Milei’s leanings and his outspoken opposition to left-wing doctrine, emergency powers in government should always be a cause for concern.

With the executive able to circumvent congressional approval, Milei has the door open to act ostensibly for the good of country without being kept in check as he would under normal circumstances.

Do you agree with radically reducing the size of government?

While there is clearly a recession and Argentina does find itself needing action, these “emergencies” set a dangerous precedent for an abuse of power.

As Nobel Prize winning economist Freidrich von Hayek said, “‘Emergencies’ have always been the pretext on which the safeguards of individual liberty have been eroded.”

In Hayek’s age, this quote extended to totalitarian regimes like Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union, but we must always be vigilant and heed his words.

Even those self-proclaimed libertarians like Milei could — to our astonishment — abuse power.

Argentina’s central concern is its economy. An outspoken anti-left politician’s ascension looks hopeful, but as the saying goes, “With great power comes great responsibility.”


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Sam Short is an Instructor of History with Motlow State Community College in Smyrna, Tennessee. He holds a BA in History from Middle Tennessee State University and an MA in History from University College London.




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