Having donned the presidential sash of Argentina Sunday afternoon after becoming the first libertarian president of any country, Javier Milei made it clear he was going to keep the hard-nosed promises he made in the recent campaign to overhaul his nation's beleaguered economy and roll back the "womb to tomb" state programs that have been national policy going back to President Juan Peron and wife Evita more than 70 years ago.
Surprisingly, and with full knowledge of hardships their country faces in the weeks ahead, young Argentinians who spoke to Newsmax voiced belief in their new president and what they consider his "straight talk."
Likening his election last month to fall of the Berlin Wall, which spelled the end of the Soviet Union, the economist known as "El Lion" or "El Loco" ("The Crazy One") underscored the hard decisions that he campaigned on and said, "I'd rather tell you an uncomfortable truth than a comfortable lie."
In a country with inflation raging at 13% and one that is the highest debtor to the International Monetary Fund with $45 billion — and owes another $10.6 billion to various multinational organizations — 4 out of 10 Argentinians live below the poverty level.
Milei's "shock therapy" includes replacing the Argentinian peso with the U.S. dollar as the national currency, shutting down the Central Bank as well as 10 of 18 cabinet ministries, and implementing a voucher system for schools as an alternative to public education.
Two young northern Argentinians who came to Buenos Aires for Milei's inauguration told Newsmax they felt sure the new president was on the right track with his "shock therapy" for the economy.
"I think that he's different, and I think he's an honest man," Alejandra, an ophthalmologist said. "He expresses himself honestly, especially when talking about shock therapy."
Her twin sister Augustina, a dermatologist, said Milei "is very smart. He will do the things that is necessary. The Central Bank is not necessary. We are for the closing of many ministries. They are a waste of money, especially the Ministry of Women's Affairs."
Hector, a retired Army officer who was in the procession at Juan Peron's state funeral in 1974, said, "If Peron had not come to power, the country would have been entirely different from what it is today. Milei is something different."
Nestor, a cabdriver, said: "I had little hope before the election, and I voted for Milei. I like him because of his energy — it's positive."
"They [the previous Peronist governments before Milei] gave a lot of money to people who weren't working," said Ramon, a security guard at the Circulo de Armes club in downtown Buenos Aires, who voted for Milei. "The words [in Milei address] weren't flattering, but they gave me hope."
John Gizzi is chief political columnist and White House correspondent for Newsmax. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.
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