The Pope, the ‘False Prophet’, and the Battle for Argentina

Argentina’s presidential election in October is shaping up as a political and cultural battle between a right-wing populist and… the Pope.

Javier Milei is the politician. The 52-year-old economist was largely unknown before 2021 but came out on top in the presidential primaries in August, having “pledged to wage a ‘cultural battle’ to transform Argentina into a libertarian paradise where capitalist efficiency replaces social assistance”, said The Observer.

Pope Francis, born in Buenos Aires and the former archbishop of the Argentinian capital, is still an influential figure in his homeland and the 86-year-old has been making his feelings known on the political situation there.

In a TV interview in March, Pope Francis commented on the rise of the far-right in Argentina, saying “it is the triumph of selfishness over communitarianism”. And he appeared to refer to the political newcomer Milei specifically when he said: “I am terrified of saviours of the nation without a political party history.”

Francis even made reference to Hitler in the interview, talking about the “new politician, who spoke beautifully, who seduced the people”, said Crux.

The Catholic news site also noted that Milei has variously described Pope Francis as “a ‘communist,’ an ‘imbecile’ and even a ‘leftist son of a b*.’”

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