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Wednesday, November 29, 2023

Victoria Villarruel, the “iron lady” of Javier Milei


Recognized for her campaign in favor of reviewing the memory structure of those who disappeared during the last dictatorship (1976-1983), she will have the Defense and Security areas under her orbit starting December 10.

The elected vice president of Argentina, Victoria Villarruel, celebrates the victory.
The elected vice president of Argentina, Victoria Villarruel, celebrates the victory.EMILIANO LASALVIAAFP

Those who know well Javier Milei They say that the elected president of Argentina always He was interested in the economy and not at all in politics.. Topics such as the democratic transition, human rights policy or progress in civil liberties or equality issues were always off his agenda. With the economy functioning and the individual in freedom is enough, he always believed. until I met Victoria Villarrueltoday vice president-elect.

Villarruel, a 48-year-old lawyer, is one of the three deputies that La Libertad Avanza (LLA) achieved in 2021. Until then she was known for her defense of the victims of terrorism, of the 1,094 deaths in the ’70s, when they acted Peronist armed organizations of the left, ultra-left and extreme right.

On Sunday, when going to vote, Villarruel was rebuked by relatives of missing people during the dictatorship that governed Argentina between 1976 and 1983. They blamed him for “denialism”, justifying that dictatorship and ignoring the drama of the disappeared. Human rights organizations speak of 30,000 missing persons, but both Milei and Villarruel indicate that the official figures of the National Commission for the Disappearance of Persons (Conadep) indicate 7,954 people.

Villarruel reacted very upset by the small demonstration that greeted her at the voting center. “Today is the day of democracy, any other claim is out of place. It is the first time that the daughter of a veteran of the Falklands War, of a military man, has become vice president. I don’t know what bothers them, that they have had children of terrorists and terrorists with government positions. “Those who are bothered by the fact that democracy includes us all are the violent ones.”

Is Villarruel a “denier”? “No, I don’t quite know how to use that word,” he said to THE WORLD Andrés Malamud, one of the country’s sharpest political analysts.

Pola Oloixarac, journalist and writer, does not agree with Malamud. “Villarruel pays tribute to the victims of terrorism, which is something that I agree with, because all victims of terrorism have to be honored,” she told THE WORLD.

“But what she embodies is also something else: a concept of vindication of the dictatorship, even the way in which she questions Estela de Carlotto (president of the Grandmothers of the Plaza de Mayo), to whom she tells that if her daughter was terrorist, stop playing dumb. As if Carlotto had hidden it, or as if by the mere fact of being terrorist justified or endorsed the abduction of children, torture and the disappearance of a person. “The military acted outside the law, but that is not part of Villarruel’s vision.”

The future vice president, who should make a transition of command with Cristina Kirchner as head of the Senate, will be in charge of the areas of Security, Armed Forces and intelligence services.

Villarruel, a true “iron lady” very gifted for dialectical debate, was the clear winner of the two television clashes in the campaign with the candidate for vice president of Peronism. He feels he is the spearhead of a “culture war.”

“We are moving a policy that Argentina was rocky and was anchored only in the left and in the methods of the left,” he told THE WORLD the vice president-elect. “And that is a great merit of La Libertad Avanza,” he added.

Malamud observes one more fact about Villarruel: “His agenda is not liberal, but conservative, and all vice presidents are loyal until they stop being so.”

Signatory of the Madrid Charter, prepared by Disenso, the Vox foundation, he has a friendship with Javier Ortega Smith and a very good relationship with Santiago Abascal.

Political scientist Ana Iparraguirre told THE WORLD which warns of potential problems between the president-elect and his vice president.

“Villarruel has a much clearer and more comprehensive agenda socially than that of Milei, who limits himself to economic and libertarian thinking and is capable of recognizing errors. Villarruel is much more dogmatic in what she thinks. I think we are going to have to wait to see the relationship between them, what role in the government each one takes. “We have, in Argentina, a history of strong tensions between presidents and vice presidents.”

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