Argentinian president to meet Silicon Valley CEOs in bid to court tech titans


Javier Milei, Argentina’s president, is set to meet with the leaders of some of the world’s largest tech companies in Silicon Valley this week. The far-right libertarian leader will hold private talks with Sundar Pichai of Google, Sam Altman of OpenAI, Mark Zuckerberg of Meta and Tim Cook of Apple.

Milei also met last month with Elon Musk, who has become one of the South American president’s most prominent cheerleaders and repeatedly shared his pro-deregulation, anti-social justice message on X (formerly Twitter). Peter Thiel, the tech billionaire, has also twice visited Milei, flying to Buenos Aires to speak with him in February and May of this year.

The raft of meetings with tech leaders is part of Milei’s broader campaign to court international influence and allies following his election late last year. Along with holding events at libertarian thinktanks and ​​talks with CEOs, Milei spoke at a rally in Spain earlier this month in support of the country’s far-right, anti-immigrant Vox party.

Domestically, Argentina faces its worst economic crisis in decades and widespread protests against the government’s harsh austerity measures. High-flying Milei, however, has been on an international diplomacy tour during his first six months in office. He has visited the US four times and been on eight foreign tours, a record for Argentinian presidents during the start of their term.

Related: ‘I’m the king and I will destroy you!’: Argentinian president stages frenetic stadium appearance

Milei emerged as a political outsider to win a run-off vote in Argentina’s election last November, gaining attention for his eccentric, bombastic behavior and campaign promises to make extreme cuts to almost all government ministries. During the election he called Pope Francis a “son of a bitch preaching communism” and revealed he had multiple cloned dogs named after conservative economists. Milei’s attacks on abortion access, opposition to gender equality and revisionist history of Argentina’s military dictatorship have enamored him to the global right while alarming human rights groups.

Among one of his biggest supporters is the Tesla CEO, who has tried to forge friendly ties with rightwing world leaders as he seeks favorable treatment for his many companies. Milei has spoken publicly about Musk’s interest in Argentina’s vast deposits of lithium, a key mineral for powering modern batteries, and pushed for deregulation that would cut costs for mining companies. After Milei’s visit to Musk in April, the Argentinian government stated that the two “agreed on the need for free markets and [to] defend the ideas of freedom”.

Milei’s arrival in Silicon Valley comes after he held a stadium show for his book release in Buenos Aires last week, which featured him singing for a live rock band and blaming Argentina’s economic problems on “enemies who are trying to overturn this government because they want socialism and misery to continue”.

Although tech companies such as Google and Facebook once heavily promoted their platforms as tools to protect and bolster democracy, major platforms have increasingly tried to frame themselves as apolitical. Google recently fired dozens of workers after protests at its offices over a $1.2bn contract with Israel’s government and military, with Pichai saying that the company was not a place “to fight over disruptive issues or debate politics”.



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