Promise Kept: Javier Milei Cuts 9 Argentine Government Offices on First Day

On Sunday, Argentine president Javier Milei took his first executive actions in the top job to reorganize the federal executive branch. He reduced the number of cabinet level ministries from 18 down to nine.

The functions of many ministries that were eliminated have been consolidated into smaller offices with reduced staff. Three ministries, the General Ministry Office of Media and Communications and the Legal and Technical Office, were promoted to cabinet status. Milei gave the General Ministry to his sister Karina who was a campaign fixture. This required a separate executive to override the restrictions on family members being appointed to high positions.

In 2023, the president made it a campaign promise to eliminate at least half the top government ministries. He ran as an anti-socialist, small government libertarian. In one of his more popular public speeches, he explained the plan by scratching out ministries from a large flowchart of the federal governments one by one. He described many of them as being useless or harmful.

Milei posted a picture of his cabinet at the presidential offices early on Monday morning, along with his campaign slogan “!viva La Libertad Carajo!” This roughly translates as “Long live Liberty, damn it!”

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The nine cabinet-level Ministries in the Argentine Federal Government are the Ministry of the Interior (formerly the Ministry of Foreign Relations), the Ministry of Defense (now the Ministry of Economics), the Ministry of Infrastructure (now the Ministry of Justice), the Ministry of Security and the Ministry of Health. A new Ministry of Human Capital has also been created. The General Secretariat and Legal and Technical Secretariat as well as the Communications and Press Secretariat have been elevated to cabinet level, but they will not be functioning as full ministries.

Officially, the eliminated ministries will be absorbed into other offices. This may result in the loss of jobs for those who lead the ministries as well as many of their bureaucrats. The Ministry of Human Capital now includes the Ministry of Education, Ministry of Labor, Employment, and Social Security, Ministry of Culture, Ministry of Social Development, and Ministry of Women, Gender, and Diversity.

The Ministry of the Interior has absorbed the Ministry of Sport and Tourism and the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The Ministry of Infrastructure has absorbed the Ministry of Transport and Public Works as well as the Ministry of Territorial Development and Habitat.

Cabinet chief will be in charge of former Ministry of Science, Technology, and Innovation, whereas a separate Ministry of Justice and Human Rights is now part of the larger Justice Ministry.

The first day also saw the integration of the federal prison system under the Security Ministry and the consolidation of more offices under Human Capital, including the National Institute of Associations and Social Economy and National Institute for Family, Peasant, and Indigenous Agriculture.

Milei’s massive reduction of the government size was not surprising, but the speed with which he implemented his promise as a presidential candidate surprised some political analysts in the country. He appeared on TV several times to explain his plan. He used a large board that showed the bloated federal government of Argentina and scribbled away the ministries he deemed unnecessary.

Milei, who spoke to La Nacion back in August, said: “It has been a long road, but we will have an Argentine that everyone wants to be a part of.”

Some of the ministries Milei had promised to eliminate are still in existence. The Health Ministry is the most notable. He accused it of mishandling Wuhan’s coronavirus outbreak and causing thousands of deaths more than necessary. Milei has not yet confirmed whether he will eliminate the ministry.

Argentina is facing its most severe economic crisis ever, as a result of years of socialist spending and poor management. The country has the highest inflation rate in the world, reaching up to 140 percent, as well as high rates of unemployment, crime and poverty. Milei insists that reducing the government’s spending is a necessary first step to restoring the Argentinean economy and making prosperity a reality.

Despite the economic crisis, many government employees have resisted Milei’s plan, fearing that they could lose their jobs or be forced to compete on one of the worst job markets in the world. Manuel Adorni – Milei’s presidential spokesperson – addressed the concerns Monday and insisted that state employees who are productive would retain their jobs.

Adorni said, “The vast majority who work for state is valid and necessary. In many cases, they have been pushed to the side.” “I do not see any public worker having to worry about their job.”

Adorni continued, “We will fight against militant employment which is a political issue, does not produce anything, and reduces productivity, salary and functions for the employee who is willing to work.”

In his first official press conference as president, the spokesman told reporters Milei had decided to “change at its root a sinister, to put it bluntly, system that has come from what is happening in Argentina, where you have a sector with privileges and a lot of people having a hard time due to leadership that has failed to solve their problems for decades.”

According to the Buenos Aires Police, Javier Milei became the first president in history elected by a libertarian-third-party ticket. The ceremony was attended by 25,000 attendees. Milei, in his inaugural speech, warned that the country’s situation would worsen in the short term before improving over time, but pledged to eliminate corruption at the federal government level.

Milei said, “For more than 100 years, politicians insisted on defending a system that has only generated poverty, stagnation and misery.” “A model where a politician’s job is to guide the lives of people in every sphere and facet possible. A model which sees the state like a booty of war to be shared among friends.

Milei said, “We will make the necessary changes to the country because we know that only by embracing ideas of freedom will we be able get out of the hole that they have dug for us.”