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‘I See Chaos’: Argentina Waits to See if Stars Align Under Javier Milei

As one of Argentina’s foremost astrologers, Gael Policano Rossi spends much of his life contemplating the future – and his prognosis for 2024 is bleak.

“I see chaos,” he replied when asked what the new year had in store for his country after the temperamental far-right libertarian Javier Milei became president.

As Policano smoked cigarettes down to their carrot-coloured ends, he predicted Argentina’s next leader, who takes office on Sunday, would oversee “a shock doctrine shitshow” and admitted his nicotine consumption had risen as a result.

“It’s the fucking Donald Trump agenda,” the 35-year-old astrologer and author warned over an afternoon coffee at his studio apartment-cum-consulting room in Santos Lugares, a town outside Buenos Aires.

Ever since Milei’s thunderbolt election triumph last month, pundits, politicians and ordinary people have been struggling to comprehend what Argentina’s future could look like under an erratic, expletive-loving political outsider widely considered the country’s most unpredictable president ever. Few concrete conclusions have been reached.

“I don’t know [what will happen] and I think anybody who tells you they know what will happen in Argentina is either lying to you or is out of touch with reality,” said Moisés Naím, a political commentator and author who is among those chewing over the prospects of Latin America’s third-largest economy.

“There are multiple Mileis. I don’t think even Milei knows which one is going to be president,” Naím said of the rumple-haired celebrity economist who brandished a chainsaw on the campaign trail to symbolise his desire for radical change.

Given the dearth of answers about Argentina’s fate, the Guardian asked two of the country’s best-known astrologers for their thoughts about the path ahead under the man they call “El Loco” (The Madman).

‘The year I lost all faith’

Policano, a leftwing poet, playwright and astrologer known as AstroMostra, offered a disturbing vision of the future.

He understood Milei’s victory as one of the last big upheavals in a 15-year period of disruption related to Pluto’s presence in Capricorn. That era, which began in 2008 and ends this year, saw the collapse of a succession of seemingly indestructible power structures, Policano said, citing the global financial crisis and Occupy Wall Street, the advance of the feminist movement, and Russia’s war on Ukraine.

“Now, we have elected someone whose main slogan was: ‘I will blow it up.’ He has a fucking chainsaw. He promises to explode a public building,” the astrologer said of Milei’s vow to “exterminate” three-digit inflation by abolishing Argentina’s central bank.

Taking off his astrologer’s hat, Policano saw Milei’s victory as the product of a flourishing rightwing movement he first detected in 2018 when he saw books by a close Milei ally flying off the shelves at a book fair. “That was the moment I saw it coming … That was the year I lost all faith,” he said, adding: “I am a gay man … so I’m not safe. I was never safe with these people.”

Observers have detected flickers of moderation from Milei in the three weeks since his landslide. He has discarded several of his most unorthodox economic advisers, leading some to believe plans to replace Argentina’s peso with the dollar have been put on ice.

He has sought to mend ties with Argentina’s top trade partners, China and Brazil, after insulting their leaders during the campaign. He flew to the US and lunched with Bill Clinton, not Trump.

Meanwhile, key cabinet posts have gone to members of the conservative establishment, which Milei has repeatedly berated as Argentina’s venal political “caste”. They include Milei’s security tsar, Patricia Bullrich, and economy minister, Luis Caputo, both of whom served under the influential former president Mauricio Macri.

“He has been much more pragmatic than many people thought,” said Juan Cruz Díaz, the managing director of the Buenos Aires consulting company Cefeidas Group.

Ofelia Fernández, a feminist activist and politician, voiced relief that Milei had not honoured a pledge to hand control of the armed forces or domestic security to his ultra-conservative vice-president, Victoria Villarruel, who has defended members of Argentina’s 1976-83 dictatorship.

“It would have been so very painful to see a champion of these genocidal criminals take charge of something so important. But we know Bullrich pretty well and her campaign wasn’t that different, so it’s hard to find this particularly comforting,” Fernández added of Macri’s former security chief who endorsed Milei after coming third in the election’s first round.

Policano, who voted against Milei fearing a rightwing backlash against Argentina’s feminist movement and LGBTQ+ community, doubted the new president’s apparent restraint would last. Progressives voiced outrage last week when Milei made Rodolfo Barra, an ex-minister who was once arrested for attacking a synagogue and was part of a neo-Nazi group, attorney general.

“He’s going to throw minorities to the Roman Colosseum to make a show,” Policano predicted, pointing to Milei’s ultra-conservative support base and ties to members of the global far right including Trump and Brazil’s ex-president Jair Bolsonaro. Bolsonaro will attend Sunday’s inauguration alongside Santiago Abascal, the leader of Spain’s far-right Vox party, and Hungary’s far-right prime minister, Viktor Orbán.

‘It could be the best or the worst year of his life’

Ludovica Squirru, a celebrity astrologer whose predictions are based on the Chinese zodiac, was unsure what Milei’s presidency held in store. “Milei is a metal dog … [and] the dragon year, which starts now, is his complementary opposite,” she said. “That means it could be the best or the worst year of his life.”

Squirru, 67, who did not vote because of registration issues but said she would have backed the conventional conservative candidate, Bullrich, rather than the “extremist” Milei, predicted his first six months in power would be “really difficult, until the hate and fury dies down”.

She added: “The price all Argentinians are going to pay will be high.”

Source: The Guardian