Argentina election: CNN checks what is true and false in the debate between Massa and Milei

One week before the second round of the presidential election in Argentina, candidates Sergio Massa, for the ruling party Unión por la Patria, and Javier Milei, for La Libertad Avanza, faced each other on Sunday (11) in the last debate before the second round of 16 from November.

During the meeting, in which the candidates alternated proposals and attacks on the issues of the economy, Argentina’s relations with the world, health and education, security and rights of man and democratic coexistence, not everything that was said was true.

A CNN en Español verified the candidates’ speeches to assess the veracity of the data mentioned. See the analysis:

Javier Milei and his statements on the economy

La Libertad Avanza candidate Javier Milei said during the first economic bloc that “Argentina, in the last 123 years, has had a budget deficit in 113.”

Verification: TRUE

According to the historical series of the Argentine Ministry of Economy, this statement is true if we include the current year.

  • Devaluation of the Argentine peso

In the thematic axis on the economy, the Libertad Avanza candidate also referred to the devaluation of the Argentine peso: “An alternative that politicians usually use is the use of machines to print banknotes. This generates inflation. We have removed 13 zeros from the currency, we have had two hyperinflations without war and we are on our way to another,” he said.

Verification: TRUE

Regarding the information on the number of zeros lost by the Argentine peso, this postulate is true. According to a report from Torcuato Di Tella University, between 1969 and 1992 the currency lost 13 zeros.

See also: Argentina elections enter home stretch

Also during the economic blockade, Milei made statements on the exchange rate: “Today, based on the parallel exchange rate, we are in the 130th position (in the world),” he said .

According to the official exchange rate measured by the World Bank, updated through 2022, Argentina ranks 153rd.

Verification: INACCURATE

Milei targeted Massa, highlighting the poverty data left by the government of Alberto Fernández. In this sense, he accused: “Your government has left two thirds of children in poverty”.

Verification: INACCURATE

This information is inaccurate. According to the latest report from the Institute of Statistics and Census (Indec), in Argentina, 56.2% of children aged 0 to 14 are poor. If we take into account young people between 15 and 29 years old, the poverty percentage in this group is 46.8%.

“When you look at Argentina’s GDP per capita, it is 15% lower than in 2011,” Milei also said of the country’s economy.

Verification: FAKE

In Argentina, GDP per capita in current dollars increased by 6.8% between 2011 and 2022, although its evolution included downward fluctuations in five of those 11 years. In 2011, its value was 12,788.02 US dollars, while in 2022 it rose to 13,659.39 US dollars.

Sergio Massa on Argentina’s relations with the world

Javier Milei and Sergio Massa hold the last presidential debate in Argentina / Reproduction/YouTube/CámaraNacionalElectoral

Speaking about foreign trade, Unión por la Patria candidate Massa said: “Who are Argentina’s main trading partners? Brazil is one and China is another.”

Verification: TRUE

According to foreign trade data from the National Institute of Statistics and Census (Indec), Brazil and China are two of Argentina’s three main partners.

Until September this year, trade with Brazil, including exports and imports, amounted to 8.9 billion US dollars. The United States comes in second, with $4.037 billion. And in third place is China, with 4.036 billion dollars.

The presidential candidate of La Libertad Avanza, Javier Milei, declared in an interview that “Putin does not enter there, Lula does not enter there”.

Massa also accused Milei of defending the self-determination of the Kelpers, inhabitants of the Falkland Islands.

Verification: MISLEADING

Candidate Milei and Diana Mondino, who announced that she would be their future chancellor, declared that “we must respect what those who live in the Falkland Islands think”, but at no time was there any question of “self-determination “.

The right to self-determination stems from a UN concept. Mondino said “the rights of the islanders will be respected.”

Sergio Massa on the economy

On the economic thematic axis, the candidate of the Unión por la Patria, Sergio Massa, highlighted Javier Milei and accused him of wanting to return to the privatization of the pension system: “Unfortunately, Milei proposes the return of the AFJP”.

Verification: TRUE

This statement is true. In the electoral platform of La Libertad Avanza, this reform appears as a second generation measure.

Currently, in Argentina, retirement pensions depend entirely on the state administration.

In 1989, under the government of Carlos Menem, a reform was carried out that incorporated the possibility of opting for private administrations, called Administrator of Retirement and Pension Funds (AFJP).

These administrations invested their funds in the financial system and, years later, the state had to save pensions because private companies were not able to pay the minimum pension.

Javier Milei on education

The presidential candidate of Libertad Avanza, Javier Milei, spoke about the education figures and assured: “Only 16% of children complete secondary education (Argentinian-style education) on time and on time. 30% don’t finish anything.

Verification: INACCURATE

According to the Observatory of Argentines for Education, in its report “Academic achievement index: how many students arrive on time at the end of high school? “, only 13 out of 100 students who started the first year in 2011 completed their secondary education in 2011. time, expected in 2022.

Likewise, this report follows the Education Achievement Index, which showed that only 16 out of 100 students completed their secondary education on time between 2009 and 2020.

Furthermore, the candidate guaranteed that “50% of children do not understand what they read and 70% cannot solve a basic mathematics problem”. This statement is also inaccurate.

According to data from the report “Reading and inequalities. Comparisons between Argentina and Latin America”, from the Observatory of Argentines for Education, 46% of students in the third year of primary school are at the lowest reading level according to the regional test Comparative study and regional explanatory (Erce).

This figure rises to 61.5% among students with the lowest socio-economic status, while it is 26.3% among students with the highest socio-economic status.

For their part, the results of the “Aprender 2022” test, which assesses the learning level of young people in secondary education, show that 71.4% of students were in the group with the lowest performance in mathematics in 2019, while this number increased to 82.4% in 2022.

(Investigations by Manuela Castro, Betiana Fernández Martino, Ignacio Grimaldi and Emiliano Giménez, from CNN in Spanish)