Far-right presidential candidate Javier Milei (La Libertad Avanza, LLA) was both applauded and booed during a performance of the Madame Butterfly opera he attended Friday night at the Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires City.
Milei received some cheers upon arriving at his assigned box with his girlfriend, actress Fátima Florez. Others, however, protested his presence, pointing at his denialist claims and booing him through a chant human rights organizations have made in marches across Argentina: “Milei, you piece of garbage, you are the dictatorship.”
Part of the orchestra, the chorus, and some attendees also sang the Peronist march, the anthem of the political movement Milei opposes.
The crowd also chanted “Never Again,” another classic form of protesting the dictatorship. The phrase is the title of a report made by the National Commission on the Disappearance of Persons (CONADEP, by its Spanish initials) based on the investigation of crimes committed by the last dictatorship.
The words were first uttered at the end of the trial against the military juntas by Julio Strassera, the prosecutor in charge of trying the case. It has become an emblem of the human rights movement that fought against the crimes of the dictatorship that kidnapped, tortured, killed, and disappeared some 30,000 people.
After the incident, Milei shared a message Teatro Colón director Jorge Telerman had sent to him. “My assistants told me — and I am seeing the same on social media — that most of the public celebrated your presence in Butterfly, although some intolerant people wanted to make trouble,” Milei wrote on social media, replicating Telerman’s words.
The Teatro Colón is Argentina’s main opera house, considered one of the best in the world by National Geographic. It has a seating capacity of 2,500.
Former presidential candidate and Milei supporter Patricia Bullrich also condemned the incident. “The Colón is a showcase for Argentina around the world,” she said on X (formerly Twitter). She also stated that the fact that the attendees, part of the choir, and the orchestra sang the Peronist march to protest Milei’s presence is “a sample of the prevailing decadence and the same intolerance as always.”