Argentina’s far-right president scraps diversity ministry days after being sworn in

Javier Milei speaking into a podium microphone.

Argentina’s new far-right president, Javier Milei, has scrapped the country’s Diversity Ministry just days after being sworn into office.

The self-identified “anarcho-capitalist” was sworn into office on Sunday (10 December) after winning Argentina’s presidential election last month, beating left-wing Sergio Massa.

Milei has been likened to Donald Trump because of his conservative beliefs like the abolition of abortion and the loosening of gun laws, and his genuine pledge to “Make Argentina Great Again.”

While demonstrating his plans to cut state spending at campaign rallies, Milei would often be seen wielding a chainsaw.

Newly elected President of Argentina Javier Milei speaks after the polls closed in the presidential runoff on November 19, 2023 in Buenos Aires, Argentina
Javier Milei has scrapped Argentina’s Diversity Ministry just days after being sworn into office. (Tomas Cuesta/Getty Images)

As part of his pledge to cut state spending, Milei has held strong on his promise to scrap various government ministries that he doesn’t see as a “priority.”

Those ministries include the Ministry of the Environment and Sustainable Development (Milei is a climate change denier), the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Education (which Milei has referred to as the” Ministry of Indoctrination”), the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Social Development, and the Ministry for Women, Gender, and Diversity.

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The Ministry for Women, Gender, and Diversity was introduced by previous president Alberto Fernández in 2019 in order to combat LGBTQ+ abuse, gender violence, social exclusion of the transgender community, and other inequalities facing women and LGBTQ+ people.

Milei’s decision to scrap the ministry and hand its duties over to the Ministry of Human Captial has raised concerns among LGBTQ+ advocates and politicians in Argentina.

Speaking to Washington Blade, Congressman and activist Esteban Paulón said: “This is a huge shame because the truth is that these policies are very necessary, first because we know that there are issues linked to gender inequalities and this obviously includes the perspective of dissidence that have a concrete impact on the daily lives of people, care policies, gender violence, the issue of the feminist economy, obviously everything that has to do with labor and social inclusion of the LGBTIQ+ collective.

“These are extremely relevant issues that are lost when losing institutionality because the state stops allocating resources, stops investing, and above all stops sending a clear message to society that these are relevant issues.

“They are issues that the state has to deal with and society has to commit to modifying, and the truth is that if we do not fight against the structure of patriarchy that is so settled in capitalism, we will not be able to fight against so many other inequalities.”

Cutting down Argentina’s ministries was one of Milei’s many concerning proposals before he was elected to office.

Others included a new referendum on the legality of abortion, abolishing public health and education, and cutting social welfare.

While he has not specifically railed against same-sex marriage, Milei – who won almost 56 per cent of the vote – has called for an end to sex education in schools and has been endorsed by a number of anti-LGBTQ+ pundits and organisations.