Argentina’s accession to BRICS may depend on Javier Milei’s weird hair and politics

He has five cloned dogs and poses a shaggy follicular challenge

A look that’s ‘not quite a mullet, moptop or mohawk but some complex combination of the three. Photo: Vox España

The five-member BRICS economic bloc’s decision to take in Argentina (as well as another five countries) may throw up some unorthodox issues, not least because of the man who leads Argentina’s presidential race.

Javier Milei brings a basket of pretty strange ideas about public policy to the table. A libertarian, he believes central banks should be abolished, along with all public health care, and that climate change is “a socialist lie”. He advocates the “legitimate and responsible” use of guns. He wants to dollarise the Argentine economy.

He rejoices in an odd menagerie – five cloned dogs.

And then there’s his weird haircut. The Wall Street Journal has described Mr Milei’s (paywall) hair style as not “quite a mullet, moptop or mohawk but some complex combination of the three”. The paper says Argentina’s commentariat has nicknamed the presidential hopeful El Peluca, or “The Wig”.

Benjamin Gedan, director of the Latin American programme at the Wilson Center think tank is quoted to say the hair do is “a billboard for his devil-may-care style of politics.” Not only does he boldly reject traditional political parties and  traditional political elites, he also eschews “traditional political hairstyles”.

In some ways, it may be easier to decode the message sent by Mr Milei’s hair than to tease out some meaning from his bolshie view of Argentina’s proposed entry into BRICS.

Mr Milei has voiced criticism of BRICS members China and Brazil, even though the latter is Argentina’s largest trading partner. Argentina’s outgoing president Alberto Fernandez had requested full BRICS membership  in June 2022 and received robust support from Brazil’s President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva (widely known by the diminutive Lula).

After the recent BRICS summit in South Africa, Lula said it was “very important for Argentina to be in BRICS” but that may fall to the shaggy follicular challenge set by Mr Milei.