A Week of Milei’s ‘Chainsaw Plan’: Controversy, Nepotism, and Street Blockade Threats in Argentina


The first week of Javier Milei’s administration in Argentina has been marked by controversial policies and decisions that have raised concerns about the president’s priorities and approach to governance. Milei, an economist known for his ultra-liberal views, had campaigned on a platform of freedom and economic reform. However, his actions since taking office have cast doubt on his ability to deliver on his promises and have resulted in backlash from various sectors of society.

One of the first actions taken by Milei was to reverse a 2018 rule that barred relatives of elected members from holding positions in public administration. This decision drew criticism as it was seen as a move to consolidate power within the president’s family. Milei’s sister, Karina Milei, was promptly appointed as the general secretary of the administration, responsible for handling public relations and assisting with public policy. This nepotism has been seen as a betrayal of Milei’s anti-establishment rhetoric and a disregard for meritocracy.

Another contentious move by Milei’s administration was the announcement made by Patricia Bullrich, Argentina’s Minister of National Security, regarding the handling of street protests. Bullrich introduced a regulation that threatened to arrest protesters who blocked streets during demonstrations. This raised concerns about the curtailment of the right to peaceful assembly and the potential for abuse of power. Activists and human rights organizations criticized the measure as unconstitutional and called for the protection of civil liberties.

Milei’s economic plan for Argentina, dubbed the “Chainsaw Plan,” has also faced criticism and skepticism. The plan, revealed by Minister of the Economy, Luis Caputo, aims to cut public expenditure, reduce subsidies, cancel tenders, and devalue the peso. While austerity measures are often seen as necessary to address economic crises, there are concerns about the impact of these policies on the most vulnerable segments of society. The reduction of subsidies for energy and transportation, for example, is expected to result in higher power and gas bills as well as increased fees for public transportation, which may burden low-income individuals and families.

The devaluation of the peso has also raised concerns about inflation and worsening economic conditions. While the government argues that these measures are necessary to address the budget imbalance and prevent hyperinflation, critics worry that the burden of these policies will fall on the average citizen.

The reaction to Milei’s economic plan has been mixed. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has praised the measures as bold and necessary to improve public finances and strengthen the exchange rate regime. However, there are doubts about the long-term sustainability of these policies and concerns that they may exacerbate inequality and deepen social unrest.

In addition to the economic challenges, Milei’s administration has also faced criticism for its handling of social issues. Critics argue that the government’s prioritization of financial aid programs for mothers with children overlooks broader social initiatives that address systemic issues and promote equality. There are calls for more comprehensive and inclusive social policies that go beyond short-term assistance.

Overall, Milei’s first week in office has been marked by controversy and questions about his ability to deliver on his promises. The reversal of the nepotism rule, the crackdown on street protests, and the implementation of the “Chainsaw Plan” have all generated concern and opposition. It remains to be seen how Milei will navigate these challenges and whether he will be able to address the pressing economic and social issues facing Argentina.