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María Elvira Salazar: The United States has forgotten Latin America

The Republican congresswoman spoke with Voz Media as part of her visit to Buenos Aires for the inauguration of Argentina's new president, Javier Milei.

María Elvira Salazar

Diseño Voz Media

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Delegations from hundreds of countries recently traveled to Argentina to witness the inauguration of Javier Milei. The libertarian was sworn in in front of Volodomir Zelensky, Viktor Orban and other leaders of the region, joined by some members of U.S. Congress. María Elvira Salazar stood out among the group.

The Republican congresswoman spoke to Voz Media during her stay in Buenos Aires and discussed the inauguration of the new president, the current situation of Nicolás Maduro and the relationship between Latin America and the United States.

A "new dawn" in Argentina thanks to Javier Milei

Salazar, who confessed having interviewed Milei during her days as a journalist, highlighted that the election of the economist means a "new dawn" for Argentina.

"Argentines are tired of traditional politicians and want something different. Now let's hope to God that he can deliver (...) I hope Argentina can prosper and become the country it should be... one of the best countries in the world", she added.

In turn, when the leaders that Milei did not invite to his inauguration, Nicolás Maduro, Miguel Díaz-Canel and Daniel Ortega, were mentioned, the congresswoman applauded and then described the decision as an act of "political courage." "They are bandits who have stolen their countries through dictatorial practices," she added.

As a message to the Argentines, the Republican congratulated them for giving Milei a "resounding" victory in the elections and invited them to support their new president, especially "those sectors that live off the government," whom she encouraged to join the private sector.

"Argentina could be one of the top 20 countries in the world. It has everything. It has intelligent people, it has natural resources, how can it not be there. It is a new dawn, may God bless them [Argentines]," she said.

The relationship between Biden and Milei

Javier Milei's admiration for Donald Trump is no secret to anyone. The Argentinean had expressed himself in favor of the current presidential candidate many times, with whom he spoke on the phone and even began to coordinate a visit to Argentina. However, for the congresswoman, this will not prevent maintaining a good relationship with the Biden White House, which will remain in force at least until January 2025.

"In the United States we are accustomed to the fact that the people are in charge, that when they elect someone, that is respected and then one works with those people. The people rule and when the people vote you have to respect the person they put in office, which is what Biden is doing and I congratulate him for that," said Salazar.

The United States has forgotten Latin America

The Republican, currently chairwoman of the U.S. House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere, stated that Latin America is "very forgotten" in the United States, which is favoring a rapprochement of the region towards China.

"Latin America needs American investments to be brought in, it is eager to do business again with the United States, not with China or Russia. Everyone wants to deal with gringos, not with dictators or communists. But if the gringos don't show up, then there are these other crooks," she said.

She also described as "harmful" the growing influence of the Eastern country in Brazil and Argentina. "The Chinese don't want anything good. Of every 10 dollars given by the Chinese, 9 they lend and 1 they give away. Out of every 10 dollars given by the Americans, 9 are given away and 1 lent", she added.

When answering what the United States can do to counteract this Chinese advance in the region, Salazar mentioned the importance of bringing investments. "I am sure that any Latin American country would love to see American companies coming to invest (...) Everybody wants to deal with the United States because the United States has a base of respect for the human being. They don't come to take advantage of you, they come to help you. Between a Chinese and an American, I am sure that all countries will take the American," the Republican added.

"Maduro is a bandit"

In recent weeks, the regime of Nicolás Maduro ordered the arrest of opposition political leaders close to María Corina Machado, currently the main referent of the opposition to the Venezuelan dictatorship. In view of this situation, Salazar qualified Hugo Chávez's successor as a "satrap" and a "bandit", who "wants to steal the country with the largest oil reserves in the world."

"How is it possible that this is happening in Venezuela? The Cubans warned them. That is the problem with socialism, once it enters, it is very difficult to get it out", the congresswoman continued.

Finally, when asked about possible solutions to the situation in the South American country, she mentioned the possibility of "pressuring the Maduro regime to leave, to open the political game and to allow María Corina Machado to run for president." Then, the role of the United States should be to "impose all possible sanctions, so that he feels it in his pocket. He and his henchmen." As for other possible alternatives, Salazar ruled out a military solution, since "the United States cannot be everywhere."

The full interview