The success of Jair Bolsonaro’s far-right rhetoric in the Brazilian elections seems to suddenly be appealing to some Argentine politicians, who this week provided a series of quotes that could have easily been attributed to Brazil’s president-elect.
The mildest revolved around the possibility to strengthen migration laws, an issue that returned to the public conversation after police arrested four foreigners in the context of the clashes that took place outside Congress during the voting of the 2019 Budget Bill. The others were increasingly more controversial, with a statement from Security Minister Patricia Bullrich at the very top.
Let’s take a look at the five most controversial statements of the week. In countdown format, because at this point all we can do is laugh not to cry.
5. Macri Says he is in Favor of Debating Migration Laws
After the government indicated its intention to deport the four foreigners previously mentioned – something that, as we at The Bubble said last week, can’t legally do – President Mauricio Macri said in a Press Conference this week that he is is in favor of “strengthening migratory laws.”
“sometimes we feel we are too generous and open, in contrast with other realities.” “We want people who come with the intention to work, like our grandparents, and protect ourselves from others who come with other intentions, make our existence more complicated and give a lot of work to the [Security] Minister [Patricia Bullrich, who was sitting next to him],” Macri said about the subject.
4. “We can’t be the Stupidest Country in the Continent”
The not-so-subtle statement came from the head of the Partido Justicialista (PJ) caucus in the Senate, Miguel Ángel Pichetto. Consulted about the government’s intention to debate migratory laws, he said he was completely in favor, and advocated for the immediate deportation of foreigners who committed crimes in the country.”Especially those who committed minor crimes. We have to kick them out fast. No one is talking about breaking the law. But there are many people here who are to sensitive about it and end up being part of the problem,” he added.
This is far from being surprising. Pichetto has always made clear that he is against an open border policy, saying in en 2016 that “our country works as a social austerity measure for Bolivia and a criminal one for Peru,” and, following his theory, “solved its security problem by transferring all its drug-trafficking infrastructure to us.” “The largest Argentine shantytowns (Villas) are being taken over by Peruvians. And Argentina incorporates all those social leftovers,” he said back then.
3. Massa: “Bolsonaro’s Policies are Aimed at Defending the Brazilian People”
Head of the Frente Renovador Sergio Massa assured this week that Argentines feel “disappointed” at the government, and hinted that protectionism would play a significant role in an eventual electoral platform of his in next year’s presidential elections.
“Trump defends the US from a process of globalization that jeopardizes many American jobs; Mexico’s López Obrador stands for Mexicans and Bolsonaro’s policies are aimed at defending the Brazilian people. We have a responsibility to provide Argentines with an alternative that defends the country, instead of continue to believe that we can ignore the global scenario,” he said.
Massa’s rhetoric had also shifted right in the months previous to the 2015 presidential elections. For example, he proposed using the Argentine Army to fight drug-trafficking present in villas, emulating the Brazilian model
2. The Firebrand Deputy who Plans to Mirror Bolsonaro’s Campaign
If we were to base this ranking on rhetoric only, these statements from Salta Province National Deputy Alfredo Olmedo would definitely be at the top. But since his real influence in the political landscape is practically null – and the next statement is actually concerning – we will leave it as a runner up.
Olmedo is taking Bolsonaro as a role model and was quick to announce that, should he be elected President, he would implement extremely similar policies to the Brazilian President-elect. He claimed to be evangelical and assured that: he would completely ban abortions; that he would appoint liberal economist Javier Milei as Economy Minister – whose ideology mirrors that of Brazilian Paulo Guedes – and would bring back military conscription.
In fact, this week he went down to the Brazilian Embassy to celebrate the country’s “Air Force day” and claimed to be there to “vindicate Argentina’s armed forces.”
1. Security Minister: “If People Want to Carry Weapons on the Street, they Can”
Always prone to taking physical action, the minister indicated that Argentina “is a free country” and, therefore, “if people want to carry weapons on the street, they can.” The minister gave the statement yesterday when consulted about her opinion on the case concerning police officer Luis Chocobar, who stands indicted for aggravated homicide using a firearm with excessive force while on duty.
In case you don’t remember, earlier this year Chocobar shot 18-year-old Juan Pablo Kukoc in December after ordering him to stop while he was running away from the scene of a crime. Seconds earlier, Kukoc had violently assaulted an American tourist, Joseph Wolek, with an underage accomplice. Wolek was stabbed ten times after resisting the robbery and had to be rushed to a hospital in critical condition.
Despite the legal woes stemming from this event, the government has always been supportive of Chocobar. In fact, Macri met with the officer. Asked if the government’s stance did not encourage police brutality, Bullrich said that “what we say here is that if you have someone defending people, don’t attack and destroy him.” The minister then attempted to mitigate her rhetoric by saying that “they would rather not have people armed on the street,” but the sole hint definitely grants her the first place in this week’s ranking.