Biden and Lula express concern about Milei at G-20 Summit

The Brazilian president fears the far-right figure could 'set Latin America back 40 years'

At the G-20 summit in New Delhi, India, on Saturday, President Alberto Fernández held two informal meetings with his United States counterpart, Joe Biden, in which the two discussed the International Monetary Fund (IMF). The U.S. president also expressed interest in learning more about La Libertad Avanza’s Javier Milei.

The first conversation took place early Saturday, before the two entered the main convention center, and was more colloquial in nature. Fernández asked after Biden’s wife, Jill, who was recently diagnosed with Covid-19, and Biden reciprocated by inquiring about Alberto’s spouse and young son.

The second dialogue, which took place during a break after the morning and midday sessions, was more political in content, according to Télam sources. Fernández reportedly thanked Biden for his intervention with the IMF to ensure the most recent disbursement of US$7.5 billion, which was overseen by U.S. National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan. 

“Not only Jake, but [U.S. Treasury Secretary] Janet Yellen helped with the management,” Biden said.

When Fernández questioned him about the various obstacles that the Fund had put in the way, the U.S. president replied, “We did everything possible,” according to Télam sources, and that “there was real concern on the part of the United States” to help the Argentine government on that issue.

Biden then questioned Fernández about the PASO elections on August 13 and the performance of far-right candidate Milei, who won the primary with just under 30% of the vote.

“Who is this character who has appeared in Argentina?” he asked the surrounding Argentine delegation.

“The same character who is looking to take a picture with Donald Trump in the United States,” answered Presidential Spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti.

Cerruti was referring to the surprise trip that the Argentine candidate had supposedly taken for personal reasons. Others have suggested that Milei is meeting with vulture funds and investment firms.

“Trump is still a problem,” Biden continued to the Argentine delegation. “As long as Trump exists, you will always have me by your side,” Fernández responded. “There’s no one in the world worse than Trump.”

Biden’s concern for Argentina echoed that of Brazilian President Lula da Silva, who spoke with Fernández ahead of the first session of the G20. After embracing, the two discussed the results of the PASO elections and the far-right candidate’s triumph. 

“Lula once again expressed his desire for Sergio Massa to win the next election,” official sources said.

Two weeks ago, when Massa, the presidential candidate for Union por la Patria, visited Brazil, Lula reportedly told him with a smile, “Sergio, stop collecting dollars and go collect some votes. Your victory is very important for all of South America.”

Lula has been concerned about Milei’s electoral prospects and has already said that if the LLA representative comes to power, “it could set Latin America back 40 years.” In his analysis, he believes that Milei would be “worse than former Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro.”

The Brazilian head of state has asked all officials in Union por la Patria to redouble their efforts in order to win in October and suggested that mayors, governors, and local organizations have key roles to play.

In conversations with the Argentine delegation, Fernández expressed confidence that Massa, with whom he spoke from the Indian capital, would make the runoff and win the presidential election.

According to government polling, support for Juntos por el Cambio’s Patricia Bullrich has cratered, while Massa’s has grown since the primaries.

With information from Télam


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