President Javier Milei

December 31, 2023, translation of President's Milei speech (by Alejandro Chafuen)

Tomorrow [Sunday December 31, 2023] will mark the first three weeks since we assumed leadership of the Nation on December 10. We have designed a shock stabilization plan. We have shrunk the state, implemented a new public order doctrine, and promoted over 500 reforms, among many other initiatives. The quantity and speed of our adopted measures have struck some. The truth is that they were necessary to try to mitigate the effects of the worst inheritance in history.

These are the first steps to turning the page and leaving behind once and for all the caste economic model that has plunged Argentines into misery for more than 100 years. The root change regarding this impoverishing model is a non-negotiable commitment I assumed with all Argentines. However, the legacy problem runs too deep. We are talking about an economy with 15 points of consolidated deficit, with a monetary printing of 20 points of GDP in the last four years, with prices artificially depressed in energy and transportation by up to 1/5 of their real value, with a central bank without reserves and with inflation that in recent weeks reached 1.2% daily, which annualized would imply around 7,500% annually. A legacy that condemns half of Argentines to poverty and, in particular, hits seven out of ten of our children. This initial situation is worse than 2001-2002, the worst crisis in our history. Therefore, we are facing a national emergency that requires us to act immediately and forcefully with the greatest number of instruments that far exceed the resources we have used in these first weeks.

I want to be clear on this. Unless we do what is necessary, we are heading towards an economic catastrophe of a magnitude unknown to any living Argentine. That is why we have sent a bill to the National Congress that may well determine the destiny of our country with the conviction that it will be approved in the coming weeks. We have called it the Bases and Starting Point for the Freedom of Argentines, referring to Juan Bautista Alberdi, the intellectual author of our first Constitution. With his ideas as its North, our country's project was carried out between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, making Argentina the wealthiest country in the world. This law provides the Executive with the necessary powers to act in the face of this emergency and avoid economic catastrophe, in addition to promoting profound reforms in commercial, tax, productive, social, and educational security at all levels of government.

The spirit of the law is to be once again a free country with a limited state that acts in defense of the life, liberty, and property of Argentines. A country where public order is respected. A country where citizens are served, and not at the service of politics. Where everyone is free to work, produce, employ, trade, import, and export as they consider best, not as a bureaucrat dictates from a government office. Who can prefer today's devastated country over the prosperous country that we propose? In a few weeks, when the moment of truth arrives, the deputies and senators of the Nation will find themselves faced with two options. They can reject the law and continue with the model that has impoverished us for 100 years. Or they can pass the law to make a profound change and embrace the ideas of freedom again.

Over the last year, I have established a code of honor with the Argentines. It is better to tell an uncomfortable truth than a comfortable lie. And even though I did not promise them a path full of roses but rather one of effort and sacrifice, the vast majority of Argentines reciprocated with their vote. I will insist on a hard truth that I have said many times due to the irresponsible decisions taken by the last governments.

Next year will be hard for all of us. But the other certainty I have is that if the same people obstruct our program who do not want anything to change, we will not have the instruments to prevent this crisis from becoming a social catastrophe of biblical proportions. Avoiding that catastrophic future to which they led us depends on everyone. It is up to us in the government to work daily to protect Argentines as we have been doing. It depends on the union and social leaders who will face the historical responsibility of choosing between the general well-being or preserving their interests. It depends on the deputies and senators who are going to be giving the debate in Congress and who will have to choose if they want to be part of the solution or if they want to continue being part of the problem. And it also depends on good Argentines who see that we are facing a turning point in our history and have faith that, as a nation, we will be able to move forward.

That is why I invite all good Argentines to demand the approval of this law from their representatives. Argentina needs it. Suppose all political, social, labor union, and business actors in the country understand the historical moment we are experiencing and support our program. In that case, I am sure there will be light at the end of the road. In essence, our reforms would imply levels of economic freedom that, in 45 years, would allow us to aspire to multiply our GDP per capita by ten times, reaching levels similar to those of Ireland, which today is 50% above that of the United States. Together.

Finally, I wish all Argentines a happy new year again. I hope you can spend it with your family and loved ones. This may be the year we turn around a century of failure. This may be the year in which we leave behind the collectivist model that made us poor and embrace again the model of freedom that made us the wealthiest country in the world.

I wish for this new year that the political leadership abandons its ideological blinders and personal interests and rises to the occasion to quickly advance the changes that the country needs. Finally, may God bless the Argentines, and may the force of heaven be with us. Thank you so much".

A reflective moment of President Javier Milei during the religious program at the Argentine Metropolitan Cathedral (Picture by Alejandro Chafuen)

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