Milei cancels Book Fair presentation, claims ‘violent’ sabotage attempt

The Argentine president said organizers were ‘hostile,’ threatening him and his staff

President Javier Milei has canceled his appearance at the ongoing Buenos Aires Book Fair, which was initially scheduled for May 12. According to him, organizers were planning to violently boycott the event.

“There is a level of hostility towards me and our staff that leads us to suspect there is an attempt to sabotage the presentation. And to do so the way Kirchnerism does, in a violent way,” Milei said in an interview on El Observador radio on Wednesday.

The president was set to present his latest book Capitalismo, Socialismo y la trampa Neoclásica (Capitalism, Socialism and the Neoclassical Trap) together with national deputy José Luis Espert. The fair is one of the most popular Spanish-speaking literary events in the world, currently happening in La Rural convention center in Palermo

When asked by journalist Luis Majul about his suspicions, Milei said state intelligence had reached that conclusion.

Milei also blamed speeches made by Alejandro Vaccaro, a Jorge Luis Borges biographer and head of El Libro Foundation, and 81-year-old writer Liliana Heker — both touched on the country’s economic crisis at the fair’s opening event. Vaccaro had also criticized Milei’s demand to Fair organizers that they had to book the main floor of the Rural Society venue — a huge stadium-like area that is not used by the Book Fair – for his presentation.

“Their opening event was very violent,” said Milei on Wednesday. “And they have threatened that if we go there they are going to do things to us. They are promoting a kind of behavior that is improper of culture.”

In his opening speech, which highlighted the government’s spending cuts in culture, Vaccaro had said that the Fair simply couldn’t afford the security and infrastructure necessary for a massive, rally-like event the president was planning.  

“The Book Fair event has been taken hostage by cultural Marxism, just like many others have for years. It’s a hiding place for the left, they use culture, artists, and students as shields,” posted Lilia Lemoine, a cosplayer and deputy for the ruling party La Libertad Avanza.

Vaccaro quickly responded and said that the security and cost issue had been dealt with, but the government had asked for 5,000 tickets, a sum the Fair could never afford.

“We had just met with 20, 25 people from the Office of the Presidency and his Military Detail, and we had agreed on everything regarding security, but today he says he is not coming,” he told C5N on Wednesday.

“We thought there could be a trap behind all this. That he would realize that it wasn’t such a good idea to come here, or that it was too expensive, and so he would make himself the victim and say he was threatened or mistreated,” Vaccaro added. “It’s absurd.”


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald