LatinNews Daily - 05 September 2023

ARGENTINA: Milei’s running mate hosts controversial event

On 4 September Victoria Villarruel, the running mate of Argentina’s far-right populist presidential candidate, Javier Milei, held a controversial event in Buenos Aires paying homage to victims of armed leftist groups during the country’s 1976-1983 dictatorship.


The event, entitled ‘homage to victims of terrorism’, took place in the Buenos Aires City legislature building. Members of left-wing political groups, trade unions, and human rights organisations protested outside the building, which had been reinforced with barriers. They stated the event sought to deny the crimes of the military dictatorship by promoting the idea that the military junta was engaged in a civil war with leftist guerrilla groups, in which both groups were equally at fault. The incident is a further indication of the polarisation provoked by Milei, who placed first in the country’s presidential primaries (Paso) on 13 August. It also suggests that, if Milei is elected, one of the only constants in Argentine politics for the past four decades – the rejection of the military dictatorship as State terrorism – may be called into question.

  • Villarruel, a federal deputy for the far-right La Libertad Avanza (LLA), invited relatives of those killed by left-wing groups to speak at the event, which had the stated aim of honouring the victims of left-wing guerrilla groups the Montoneros, which had ties to Peronism, and the Ejército Revolucionario del Pueblo (ERP).
  • Villarruel, the daughter of a military officer, has a history of advocating for soldiers convicted of crimes during the dictatorship.
  • On social media, Villarruel thanked the police for “looking after us in the face of attacks and violence from those who do not allow others to express themselves.”
  • Among those demonstrating were members of political parties including the left-wing Movimiento Socialista de los Trabajadores (MST) and the Trotskyist Polo Obrero party; trade unions Confederación General del Trabajo (CGT) and Asociación de Trabajadores del Estado (ATE); and the social movement Barrios de Pie.
  • The event may have had a political purpose, given the links between the defunct Montoneros and Peronism, and evidence suggesting that Patricia Bullrich, the presidential candidate for the right-of-centre opposition coalition Juntos por el Cambio (JxC), was a member of the group before her pivot to the right.

Looking Ahead: According to local media, Villarruel says she will revise the reparations given to victims of the dictatorship if elected vice president. The first-round of the presidential election is on 22 October.

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