Argentina reinvents itself

Sharp economic downturns, such as the one unfolding in Argentina, can sometimes create openings, especially in politics when an outsider promises disruption.

That helps explain the upset victory of Javier Milei, a first-term legislator from a fringe, far-right political coalition, in a presidential primary last week in Latin America’s third-largest economy. Many voters are fed up with a political elite that reigns over 113% inflation, a collapsed peso, and mass poverty. Mr. Milei pledges to cut government spending, dismantle the central bank, and eliminate half of the federal agencies, including education and health, if elected in October.

His policies may have limited appeal, pollsters say. The reason could lie in how ordinary Argentines have responded to decades of economic mismanagement and corruption. They have formed bonds of community. “We’re all trying to float,” Marina Furlanetto, a gallery owner in Buenos Aires, told Here Magazine. “It’s not a competitive struggle.”

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