Tuesday, November 21, 2023:
Hi, everyone. Here’s what’s on the agenda today:
UP FIRST: How young Argentines helped put a far-right libertarian into power
CATCH UP: Is a hostage release and truce in Gaza imminent?
— Rachel DuRose, Future Perfect fellow
Young Argentines helped put a far-right libertarian into power
Tomas Cuesta/Getty Images
This week, Javier Milei, a far-right libertarian, defeated Sergio Massa, a left-wing establishment candidate, in Argentina’s runoff election for president. Milei, who describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist,” despises traditional politicians, and captured the votes of Argentina’s young people (especially young men) with his socially conservative, anti-establishment campaign.
The lowdown: Milei isn’t the only far-right candidate in the last few years to catapult to the top of government. Across the world, far-right politicians are gaining power, but normally these candidates — including Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jair Bolsonaro — don’t have the backing of a broad swath of the country’s youth the way Milei does.
Here’s how Milei won Argentina’s youth vote in the presidential runoffs:
Milei and his far-right comrades gained traction on social media. Milei became a social media sensation during the pandemic, when many youths — nearly half of whom work in the informal economy — were out of work. He built on that success with a viral TikTok account run by a 22-year-old staffer that generated nearly four times as many followers as his opponents combined.
Milei promised to fix Argentina’s ailing economy. Annual inflation in Argentina reached 138 percent in September, and over 40 percent of Argentines currently live in poverty. Many Argentine youth have never known a prosperous country (the economy’s been constantly in recession since 2012), and many frustrated youth were willing to take a chance on an outsider with bold proposals.
- Some in Argentina worry about Milei’s far-right stances. Among other things, Milei has promised to legalize gun ownership and has denied climate change and the gender wage gap. He also opposes abortion.
In recent years, Argentina legalized abortion rights, and access to contraception, and instituted a trans labor quota in the public sector. The backlash to these socially liberal policies may have contributed to male youth support of Milei.
Traditionally, Argentina’s youth did not associate with such right-wing ideals. In the 2019 presidential election, young voters largely supported the left-wing candidate and eventual winner Alberto Fernández. This time, however, young voters told Vox they were willing to give anyone with a bold economic plan a chance, right-wing or not.
The stakes: Likely, Milei won’t be able to implement his wide-sweeping campaign promises. He has few allies across party lines and in the legislature, and none in prominent governorships or mayorships. He could overcome this unprecedented lack of support through coalition-building, but even that might prove tricky for Milei, whose administration has little government experience.
“His government will face so many obstacles and I’m afraid there will be lootings, I’m afraid there will be revolutionaries in the streets,” Natalia Fernandez, a lawyer in Córdoba, told Argentinian journalist and Vox freelancer Lautaro Grinspan in October.
Read Grinspan’s full story on the country’s president-elect here.
Is a hostage release and truce in Gaza imminent?
On Tuesday, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh said the group was close to reaching an agreement with Israel. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said he hoped to announce news about the release of hostages soon, and convened his war cabinet to discuss the developments.
Here’s what we know thus far about a potential agreement between the groups:
For weeks, the United States and Qatar have been trying to negotiate a hostage release and a temporary ceasefire in Gaza. Since the war began on October 7, the humanitarian toll in Gaza has been immense. More than 14,000 Palestinians — 5,600 of whom were children — have been killed, Gaza’s Ministry of Health reports. [AP]
A source told Reuters the truce was in its “final stages” and “closer than it has ever been.” The agreement would include the release of hostages by Hamas, the release of Palestinian prisoners by Israel, as well as stipulations around the length of a truce and the delivery of aid into Gaza. [Reuters]
The deal would reportedly involve two phases. In the first phase, a four-day ceasefire would allow 300 aid trucks to enter Gaza daily. Hamas would release 50 Israeli women and children, and Israel would release around 150 Palestinian prisoners (also mostly women and children). If the ceasefire is extended, and Israel agrees to continue releasing Palestinian prisoners at the 3-1 ratio, then Hamas could release an additional 50 hostages per day. [Axios]
If you have questions about the ongoing war, let us know here. And here’s where you can keep track of all our developing coverage.
🗣️ “They'll be here for three days, destroying my property. They'll be gone, and I have to live with their destruction right here… Our government [is] just leaving us behind. [The] American dream is gone. It's not here no more. ... That's just a dream. That's all that's left. Just the dreams.”
— Jerry Schuster, a Yugoslavian immigrant whose Southern California ranch has become a de-facto migrant camp, told NPR. Asylum seekers have begun entering the area near Schuster’s ranch, waiting to contact US Customs and Border Protection. He claims the government says it’s unable to do anything about the camps on his property. [NPR]
Mexico City may have a hidden missing persons crisis. Murders, kidnappings, and robberies declined in the city after 2019. And while the national murder rate was 25.2 per 100,000 people in 2022, Mexico City’s was 8 per 100,000. But, these stats may not show the whole story: Mexico City faces a growing number of cases of people disappearing every year. [Guardian]
The Russian ruble is making a comeback, becoming the world's “best-performing currency.” Russia instituted high rate hikes to control inflation, stopped cash from leaving the country, and encouraged energy exporters to sell oil in rubles to combat the pressure sanctions have put on its economy. [Business Insider]
The busiest days to travel for Thanksgiving in the US are Tuesday, Wednesday, and this Sunday. The Transportation Security Administration predicts a combined 5.3 million airline passengers will travel on Tuesday and Wednesday, and a record-setting 2.9 million will fly on Sunday. An estimated 55.4 million Americans will travel by road between Wednesday and Sunday. [ABC7]
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