Far-right libertarian presidential candidate Javier Milei revealed on Friday that if he wins the election, he’d appoint economist and dollarization advocate Emilio Ocampo as the head of the Central Bank. In the same interview, Milei also said that veterinarian and cloning expert Daniel Salamone would be in charge of running the CONICET, Argentina’s main scientific institution.
“Emilio Ocampo will be the president of the Central Bank, and will close it down,” Milei said in an interview with Radio El Observador.
One of the libertarian’s main proposals is abolishing the Argentine peso, shutting down the Central Bank, and having Argentines trade in their preferred currency, in essence a de facto dollarization of the economy. If Milei’s plan succeeds, Ocampo would be the last president of the Central Bank.
In 2022, Ocampo co-wrote a book called Dollarization: A Solution for Argentina together with Nicolás Cachanosky. He joined Milei’s political party, La Libertad Avanza (LLA) after it was published. Ocampo studied economics at the University of Buenos Aires and has an MBA from the University of Chicago. He worked at Morgan Stanley, Chase Manhattan and Citigroup. In 1998, he worked in the Salomon Brothers investment bank, acting as an intermediary between the government and Repsol during YPF’s privatization.
Ocampo is currently a professor of Finance and History at CEMA, and also a research associate at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), a US think tank.
“It’s an honor that Javier Milei chose me to close down the Central Bank and eliminate inflation, the most perverse and arbitrary tax which has contributed to the impoverishment of Argentines for decades,” Ocampo posted in his X account (formerly known as Twitter.)
Milei answered him in another post, writing “Welcome to the forces of Heaven” in all caps, referencing the name he uses for his supporters. Ocampo answered thanking him for the opportunity.
“We will put all our effort into accomplishing that goal”
Ocampo publicly disagreed recently with Chief Argentine Supreme Court Judge Horacio Rosatti, who earlier this week had said the dollarization plan would be “unconstitutional” because it would abolish the national currency, the peso.
In a blog post, Ocampo countered that “the only obligation imposed on Congress by the National Constitution is to defend the value of the currency,” adding that it doesn’t include the adjective “national” to the currency.
Milei lauded Ocampo in front of his supporters at an event in a Buenos Aires hotel on Friday night. “You will be remembered as the person who assassinated inflation,” he told him. “Long live freedom, dammit!,” he added.
‘The national cloner’
Ocampo was not the only high-ranking official Milei announced on Friday. He also said who he would appoint veterinarian Daniel Salamone as the director of the National Council of Technological and Scientific Investigations (Conicet, in Spanish), the main scientific state institution in Argentina, if he became president.
Although Milei had previoulsy said he would privatize the Conicet, on Friday he said he would reconvert it to a science bureau, which it already is, and “clean up what [scientists] who write nonsense have dirtied.”
“Daniel Salamone, who is considered the national cloner, will be in charge,” Milei said.
Salomone is a veterinarian who has participated in research on the cloning of cows, horses, and sheep, among other animals.
It’s worth noting that Milei had his English Mastiff Conan cloned several times after it died.