Everybody is talking about Milei in Argentina

I just spoke on a radio show in Buenos Aires and commented that I have not seen so much interest in Argentina since Madonna brought back Evita. Yes, there is a lot of interest in the loud and outspoken fellow with funny hair.

The latest is that President Milei wants Argentina to be like Texas. This is the story:

President Javier Milei has flawless timing. Argentina’s shale boom has reached industrial take-off just as he embarks on his extreme libertarian experiment: a Hayekian free market assault on the delinquent Peronist state and all its works.

The long-suffering nation is swinging very fast from a costly dependence on energy imports, and a chronic leakage of hard currency, to the happier condition of net hydrocarbon exports. The prolific shale basin of Vaca Muerta is finally delivering.

After years of talk and many dropped balls, this arid expanse of northern Patagonia is suddenly starting to look like the next Texas, promising to draw in the serious dollars needed to stabilise the ruined peso and make all else possible.

Who knows? Maybe oil can save Argentina and boost exports. Maybe Argentina can open up the oil sector to private investment and do what Mexico never did, or exploit its main energy resource intelligently without the ghost of protectionism.

The good news is that Milei has swept “away the thicket of Peronist controls, opening the country’s hydrocarbon industry to global market forces.”  The national energy minister, Eduardo Rodríguez Chirillo supports a free enterprise approach.

Argentina will probably never be Texas, but I like the idea of promoting national resources with a free market approach. We have “cowboys” and they have “gauchos.” They dance the tango and we do the “two-step.” We will be different but I like the fact that President Milei has a positive view of the Texas economy.

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