Javier Milei became the newly elected president of Argentina on Sunday, Nov. 19, after a decisive victory over Peronist Sergio Massa in the second round of elections. Less than 24 hours after his victory was made official, the libertarian began to outline the first measures he will take as head of the government and even began to confirm the names that will make up his cabinet starting Dec. 10.
The economist, who received the most votes of any presidential candidate in the history of the South American country, announced that he will drastically reduce the number of ministries in a very similar way to that proposed by the Freedom and Progress Foundation. Of the 18 current government ministries, only the following eight will remain: the Ministries of Defense, Justice, Economy, Foreign Relations, Infrastructure, Security, Interior and Human Capital, which will absorb the Ministries of Social Development, Health, Labor and Education.
The minister of defense is yet to be known, but there are already many names confirmed to join the Milei administration.
Perhaps the most important position within the cabinet will be filled by Luis "Toto" Caputo. After a parade of names that included Federico Sturzenegger and a mysterious figure rumored to be living abroad, Milei's office confirmed Caputo as head of the Ministry of Economy.
He is a man close to former President Mauricio Macri, serving under him as president of the Central Bank and minister of finance.
His arrival to the government would delay the plans to dollarize the economy. He has experience on Wall Street, where he is said to be nicknamed "The Messi of Finance."
He is an economist that graduated from the University of Buenos Aires and also worked at JP Morgan and Deutsche Bank.
— Oficina del Presidente Javier Milei (@OPEArg) November 30, 2023
Although it was an open secret, it was confirmed that Patricia Bullrich will be Javier Milei's minister of security, returning to the role she occupied during Macri's administration. Bullrich was a candidate for president during the 2023 presidential elections, heading the list of Juntos por el Cambio (Together for Change), a party that finished third in the October general elections, behind Unión por la Patria (Sergio Massa) and La Libertad Avanza (Milei).
A few hours after it was confirmed that she would not enter the second round, she expressed her support for the libertarian, something that the latter considered as "an act of patriotism."
Agradezco al presidente electo @JMilei la oportunidad ofrecida para volver a servir a la patria como ministra de Seguridad.
Me comprometí con cada uno de ustedes a lograr el cambio profundo que nos demanda la sociedad y daré esa batalla desde el lugar que hoy me toca.
— Patricia Bullrich (@PatoBullrich) December 1, 2023
The one chosen to be the face of Argentina worldwide is Diana Mondino, an economist from Córdoba who was part of the board of directors of important companies such as Pampa Energía, Standard & Poor’s and Loma Negra.
With an extensive career in the private sector, she also has experience as a teacher. She serves as the director of institutional relations and professor of finance in the MBA and finance masters programs at CEMA University.
Trabajando para achicar el Estado y eliminar impuestos. pic.twitter.com/nGd0ECFplO
— Diana Mondino (@DianaMondino) November 20, 2023
Regarding her vision of international relations, Mondino comes to restore prestige to the role of chancellor in Argentina and has a clear conviction of returning the country to the world’s stage. She announced that she will seek to open new markets for Argentine products and deepen those that already exist.
“We have been begging, feeling sorry for ourselves, when Argentina has everything to stand up for itself and play in the top leagues. At the very least, we have to try to show confidence to the world, at the very least demonstrate that we respect our agreements,” she expressed in August when her name was already being floated to occupy this position.
In Argentina, the Ministry of the Interior is critical because it is in charge of relations between the federal government and the provinces, with everything that this implies in economic, commercial and distribution terms. To carry out this task, the president-elect chose Guillermo Francos, a career politician with a reputation for being “official,” that is, very loyal to the administration.
He entered into the public sphere in the early 1970s, later serving as a national deputy at the beginning of the new millennium. After leaving politics for a few years, he worked with Peronist Daniel Scioli in the Province of Buenos Aires and recently served as the Argentine delegate to the Inter-American Development Bank between 2019 and 2023.
💬 La palabra del asesor de Javier Milei, Guillermo Francos
"Soy una persona de diálogo"
— A24.com (@A24COM) November 20, 2023
This will perhaps be one of the most relevant ministries, given that it is one of Milei’s “creations.” The libertarian decided this new ministry will incorporate the former Ministries of Social Development, Health, Work and Education. Among its most notable functions will be the management of social programs and state assistance.
The one chosen to lead this new ministry is Sandra Pettovello, a graduate in journalism from the University of Belgrano and a graduate in family sciences from the Universidad Austral.
She has already announced reforms in the education sector that encourage “competition,” while highlighting the importance of “encouraging regular and independent evaluations of institutions and involving parents, associations and audit companies in the process, which control the development of the tests and their results.”
The Ministry of Justice will be headed by lawyer Mariano Cuneo Libarona, known professionally for managing to reverse cases that seemed lost. He led high-profile cases at the local level, such as the attack on the AMIA and the defense of Guillermo Coppola, former representative of Diego Maradona, in the 1990s. Like Francos and Milei, he worked for the Eurnekian Group for years.
As reported by Hernán Capiello from the newspaper La Nación, Milei proposed to his imminent official three main management pillars: judicial independence, the suitability of officials and the end of political operations in justice.
🤔 ¿Quién es Mariano Cúneo Libarona, el ministro de Justicia de Milei?@MarcheseLourdes repasó el perfil del abogado que será parte del gabinete en el próximo gobierno.
— La Nación Más (@lanacionmas) November 20, 2023
Libarona is a big fan of Racing Club de Avellaneda, one of Argentina’s most popular soccer teams. He is even part of its legal department and is a member of the club’s board of directors.
“It is time to reconstruct our homeland. What would my dad want? That I get a grip and hold on. He would feel proud; something must be done for our country,” he confessed to a friend after the primary elections when he talking about his meetings with Milei and his collaborators.
Another of Milei’s creations will be the Ministry of Infrastructure, which will be handed over to Guillermo Ferraro. Perhaps one of the least-known names in the cabinet, he served as director of KPMG Argentina, a company that provides audit, tax, and consulting services.
In that role, he led important projects such as the Aconcagua Railway Tunnel, the Chihuido Hydroelectric Plant and the restructuring of Human Resources of the City of Buenos Aires, among others.
Regarding public management, he served as the assistant secretary of national industry between 2002 and 2003, as well as the City of Buenos Aires under the Mauricio Macri administration.
Chief of staff
Nicolás Posse, one of the president-elect’s most trusted men, has been chosen as Milei’s chief of staff. An industrial engineer by profession and with a degree from the University of Cambridge, he stood out at the Eurnekian Corporation, where he was the CEO responsible for duty-free at airports.
He was in charge of project management in the “Aconcagua Bioceanic Corridor” between 2009 and 2017, an initiative to link the Atlantic and Pacific oceans through a high-tech railway corridor.
During the campaign, he was in charge of coordinating the technical teams of La Libertad Avanza, Milei’s political party, while also serving as Milei's primary advisor in all the debates.
Ambassador to the United States
To implement his idea of approaching the United States, Milei chose Gustavo Werthein as ambassador in Washington. A veterinarian by trade, he served as president of the Argentine Olympic Committee (COA) between 2009 and 2021, and has been a member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) and Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) since 2011.
El Presidente electo, Javier Milei, junto a Nicolás Posse, Luis Caputo y Gerardo Werthein, mantuvieron esta tarde una positiva reunión en la Casa Blanca con el consejero de Seguridad Nacional norteamericano, Jake Sullivan; el asesor especial del Presidente de los Estados Unidos y… pic.twitter.com/AdeMApYviL
— Oficina del Presidente Javier Milei (@OPEArg) November 28, 2023
Secretaries and Central Bank
Several local political analysts agree that the president of the Argentine Central Bank will be one of the key roles within the new administration. With the objective of dollarizing the economy, Milei will trust Emilio Ocampo, who finally decided to step aside due to differences with Caputo. It is perhaps the last position of great influence that remains to be filled.
As for his secretaries, Milei confirmed Gustavo Morón for labor, Leonardo Cifelli for culture, Carlos Horacio Torrendell for education and Eduardo Rodríguez Chirilo for energy. Morón served as head of the Superintendence of Labor Risks during the Mauricio Macri administration. He is a public accountant and studied a Master's Degree in Economics and Public Business Administration at the Torcuato Di Tella Institute.
Cifelli is a sucesful theater producer who will arrive with the objective of lowering prices. “It’s going to be 33% less expensive than it is now, and that’s going to be the cut that’s going to be made,” he recently said. He was in charge of plays such as “Dracula the Musical,” “Picadillo de Carne,” and “Monólogos de la Endorfina,” among many others.
— Oficina del Presidente Javier Milei (@OPEArg) November 30, 2023
After contemplating Martín Krause, Milei confirmed Torrendell as head of education. With a background in the City of Buenos Aires' government, a good part of his career was spent at the Pontifical Catholic University of Argentina (UCA), where he was a full professor in the Department of Education.
He is also an elected member of the Board of Directors of the School of Social Sciences and of the National Council for Quality Education as a representative of the academic world, where he has worked for 27 years.
Finally, there is Rodríguez Chirilo, who was the main energy advisor to Milei’s presidential campaign. He served as a consultant to the secretary of energy between 1995 and 1996, during the second Menem government, and as an advisor to the then National Ministry of Infrastructure and Housing in 2001.
As for his education, he is a graduate of the UCA School of Law and holds a doctorate degree from the University of Navarra in Spain.