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International Relations and Human Rights Observatory

11-21-2023

Will Milei invite autocracies to his presidential inauguration?

Javier Milei’s refusal to invite autocratic countries to his presidential inauguration implies, on the one hand, not granting them »equal treatment», since their representatives lack the democratic legitimacy that he has and, on the other hand, sending a message of international democratic solidarity to the victims of repression and state terrorism in autocracies.
By Gabriel C. Salvia

On December 10, Javier Gerardo Milei will take office as President of Argentina, the same day that will mark the 75th anniversary of the adoption in Paris of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights by the UN.

Milei repeatedly said, including during the presidential debates, that in his government he would not have relations with countries whose governments are not democratic. He was referring mainly to China, expressing that there would be no bilateral policy with one of Argentina's largest trading partners, i.e., that the Argentine State would not intervene in the economic exchanges of its private sector with the Asian giant.

Milei could thus extend the policy adopted by Luis Lacalle Pou when he took office as president of the Oriental Republic of Uruguay on March 1, 2020. On that occasion, Lacalle Pou did not invite the three Latin American countries ruled by dictatorships: Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. It was immediately pointed out to Lacalle Pou the contradiction of not applying this decision to other non-democratic states outside Latin America, such as China.

Milei will assume the presidency of the Argentine Republic after going through a process of free and competitive elections: primaries, first round with four other candidates and finally the ballot with the ruling party's candidate Sergio Massa. An elected president with democratic legitimacy like Milei can rightfully decide not to invite to his presidential inauguration representatives of states in power in violation of Article 21, paragraph 3 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: "The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be held periodically by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures".

According to The Economist's Democracy Index, 59 countries violate the aforementioned article of the Universal Declaration and are therefore classified as "Autocracies", i.e. non-democratic states. Of these 59 countries, 21 have embassies in Argentina, with headquarters in Buenos Aires: Algeria, Azerbaijan, Belarus, China, Congo (Brazzaville), Cuba, Egypt, Haiti, Iran, Kuwait, Lebanon, Libya, Nicaragua, Palestine, Qatar, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela and Vietnam.

Javier Milei's refusal to invite autocratic countries to his presidential inauguration implies, on the one hand, not granting them "equal treatment", since their representatives lack the democratic legitimacy that he has and, on the other hand, sending a message of international democratic solidarity to the victims of repression and state terrorism in the aforementioned autocracies. The latter is to exercise the memory of the solidarity received during the last Argentine military dictatorship, which came precisely from democratic countries such as the United States, Sweden, the Netherlands, France, Canada and Venezuela, among others.

Finally, unlike the ideologically biased international policy during the presidency of Mauricio Macri, Milei should invite the democratically elected president of Guatemala, Bernardo Arévalo, who faces a persecution by the corrupt justice system in that country that aims to disqualify him from taking office on January 15, 2024, which is criticized by the OAS and the United States.

In spite of all the internal challenges that Javier Milei will have to face, if he aspires to make a difference in the international arena that implies a greater democratic commitment of Argentina, his presidential inauguration and that emblematic date will be a great opportunity to do so.

Gabriel C. Salvia
Gabriel C. Salvia
General Director
International human rights activist. Since 1992 he has served as director of Civil Society Organizations and is a founding member of CADAL. As a journalist he worked in graphics, radio and TV. Compiled several books, among them "Diplomacy and Human Rights in Cuba" (2011), "Human rights in international relations and foreign policy" (2021) and "75 years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights: Views from Cuba" (2023), and he is the author of "Dancing for a mirage: notes on politics, economics and diplomacy in the governments of Cristina Fernández de Kirchner" (2017). He is also the author of several reports, including " The chairs of the Council: authoritarianism and democracies in the evolution of the integration of the UN Human Rights body" and "Memory closed: The complicity of the Cuban revolution with the Argentine military dictatorship".
 
 
 

 
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