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Feature Healthcare in the Americas

“Argentina’s Trump”: Presidential candidate wants to axe public health and sell organs for profit

BMJ 2023; 382 doi: (Published 19 September 2023) Cite this as: BMJ 2023;382:p2062
  1. Martín De Ambrosio, freelance journalist
  1. Buenos Aires
  1. mdeambrosio{at}

An increasingly popular far right politician who is taking a surprising shot at Argentina’s presidency has shocking proposals for health and science. Martín De Ambrosio reports

“I am the lion! The beast roared in the middle of the avenue,” sings Javier Milei again and again as he steps on every stage of his presidential campaign trail. The success of the far right candidate, whose manifesto is built on singular extreme ideas about health, education, and science, has sent shockwaves through Argentina’s sociopolitical local landscape.

Universal healthcare? It should be scrapped and poor people left to fend for themselves, he says. Organ donation? Should be privatised. Climate change? A “socialist hoax, part of cultural Marxism.”

His views have chimed with a public disillusioned by the poor economic state of a country still reeling from the covid pandemic and now facing impoverishment resulting from state corruption and hyperinflation of more than 120%, leading to real terms falls in salaries for the past eight years.

Few commentators thought Milei would stand much of a chance until mid-August, when the results of the country’s primary presidential elections placed him with 30% of votes—ahead of his closest competitors, the more traditional right wing Patricia Bullrich (28%) and the ruling party’s endorsed candidate, the Peronist Sergio Massa (27%).

This puts Milei in a strong position in the countdown to the full national elections on 22 October. The fear among many Argentinians …

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