Security Minister Aníbal Fernández has prompted outrage after saying that an opposition victory would lead to severe social unrest during an interview with news channel C5N on Thursday.
In response to a question about how he viewed the political agenda of leaders of the Argentine right including PRO presidential candidate Patricia Bullrich, former President Mauricio Macri, and libertarian economist Javier Milei, Fernández said that their ideas “only work with enormous repression where there will be blood, there’ll be people killed.”
His remarks came during a week of apocalyptic predictions in the political discourse of both sides. On Wednesday, former president Mauricio Macri said at the Inter-American Council for Trade and Production that he believes “we have to blow up almost everything”.
Fernández’s comments sparked a furious response from the opposition. Milei tweeted on Friday that “When Anibal Fernández speaks of “an incompetent and violent person who will transform Argentina into a bloodbath”… It seems like he’s reviewing his own resumé! It’s an extraordinary description of his own curriculum!”
In a previous post, he accused the ruling coalition of “clinging to their posts and their privileges of caste”, a term he uses pejoratively to refer to career politicians.
Presidential Spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti sought to play down the minister’s remarks during a press conference, accusing the opposition of making “too much scandal out of a phrase” and drawing attention to Macri’s comments of the previous day.
Despite the tone of his comments, Fernández also emphasized that security in Argentina has improved markedly in recent years, describing levels of crime as “absolutely manageable”.
“Argentina has a [culpable homicide rate per 100,000 people of] 4.3, that’s almost a European level,” he said.
He also said that he supported the position of President Alberto Fernández (to whom he is not related) that the ruling coalition Frente de Todos should define its presidential candidate by holding presidential primaries, which he described as more democratic than candidates being hand-picked by a “strongman” (caudillo) within the coalition.