The controversial Argentine politician Javier Milei and Colombian President Gustavo Petro had a heated exchange on social media following comments made by Milei to a Colombian media outlet in which he referred to Pope Francis as “the representative of evil.”
In his statements to the Colombian media, the Argentine politician claimed that Pope Francis, also of Argentine nationality, was promoting communism. During the interview, Milei outlined what he believed were measures contributing to Argentina’s problems, and he specifically blamed Francis, suggesting that his behavior went against religion.
“The Pope is the representative of evil on Earth, occupying the throne of God’s house. Did you know that the Pope promotes communism with all the disasters it has caused, and that goes against the sacred scriptures?” Milei asserted, referring to his fellow countryman.
These controversial words were quickly condemned and refuted by individuals in Argentina who are supporters of the Pope, viewing the first Latin American pope in history as a source of pride for the region.
Defenders of Pope Francis
Among the defenders of Pope Francis was Colombian President Gustavo Petro, who also responded to the controversial remarks made by Milei in the Colombian media. Petro referred to Milei as a “fundamentalist” and, citing a biographical aspect of Jesus, defended the Pope’s mission. Petro stated on his social media platform, “Because the Pope calls for prioritizing assistance to the poorest, they call him evil and communist. How will these far-right fundamentalists refer to Jesus, who asked to help the woman they were stoning?”
The Clash Is Not New
The clash between Gustavo Petro and the Argentine politician is not new. Just a few weeks prior, the Colombian president compared Milei to Adolf Hitler after Milei labeled a socialist as “garbage and human excrement,” stating that such individuals were willing to condemn everyone to misery rather than tolerate the success of others.
Milei added that “being a socialist, deep down, is a spiritual disease, a disease of the soul.” He concluded his diatribe with a sentence about left-leaning individuals: “They are bad people, that’s the reality.”
When Milei was asked about Petro’s reaction, he retorted, “I’m not surprised by anything from a socialist. They are part of the decay. We liberals bother them a lot because we expose them.”
A Politician in Times of Crisis
Javier Milei, a presidential candidate in the October elections in Argentina for the La Libertad Avanza party, is characterized by most analysts as a far-right populist. Milei, who describes himself as an “anarcho-capitalist,” is known for his passionate and outspoken rhetoric. He is a climate change denier and vehemently opposes any left-wing political movement.
Currently serving as a deputy for the city of Buenos Aires, Milei’s statements leave no one indifferent. Some compare him to figures like Jair Bolsonaro or Donald Trump, but he is truly a product of the current era, where the discrediting of traditional politicians has given rise to unconventional figures who embrace eccentricity as their modus operandi in public life.
Setting aside labels, in the primaries held on August 13 in Argentina, Javier Milei garnered the highest vote count, with 29.86% of the votes. This has made him the preferred candidate for many in the upcoming presidential elections in October. In these elections, Argentinians will vote for their head of state at a time when soaring inflation and a sinking economy in perpetual crisis have left the citizenry frustrated.