Almost overnight, Javier Milei stopped being a roaring lion and metamorphosed into a cunning fox. Bathed in increasingly generous doses of pragmatism, the Argentine president-elect is getting rid of old traveling companions while he incorporates former adversaries or people with whom he had no close relationship. As a backdrop, his dollarization plan is in doubt and the insistence that very hard months are coming for an Argentine economy that is facing collapse.

“I received messages from people I hadn’t spoken to in 30 years… ‘How are you?’, they say to me. Well, there was a little journey,” explains Milei. And she laughs.

“The problems that Argentina has are too big. We are putting together a team. I don’t care where you come from. I have this problem, can you solve it? Well, then you’re in,” he added in an interview on the radio “Neura FM”.

The problem is that the assembly of this team is being, in the opinion of many Argentines, chaotic. Names that are announced fall away, while others that no one expected emerge. And the big issue for which Milei was elected with 55.6 percent of the votes, the economy, is beginning to raise doubts.

The president-elect was due to fly to the United States this Friday to pray at “El Ohel”, the tomb of Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson in New York. “El Ohel” is a place of pilgrimage, something especially sensitive for Milei, who studies the Torah and considers converting to Judaism.

But the “spiritual journey” had to give way to the reality of the earthly and accelerated journey that Milei is making in the five days he has been elected president.

“We don’t have money,” he stressed with a serious gesture in one of the many interviews he gave to local media in recent days. “2024 will end with fiscal balance. Minister who spends more, I miss him.”

The amazing thing about Milei these days is that he is telling Argentines, in every possible way, that a very profound “adjustment” begins on December 10. If for twenty years many were convinced of what Kirchnerism said, that where there is a need there is a right, from now on there will only be rights if there is money to finance them. And Milei already said it; there’s no money.

There is none in the Central Bank, which this Friday Milei insisted that he will close: “That is not negotiated.” There is none in the public administration in general, to which the imminent president wants to apply an immediate five percent spending reduction. The wave of privatizations that Milei foresees has to do with this reduction in spending, but these privatizations take time. Meanwhile, a proclamation with demagogic overtones: the adjustment “will be done by politics, the people are not affected.”

It is a symbol, more than a real solution: political spending in Argentina may be seen as excessive in the eyes of many, but it is an insignificant percentage in the sea of ​​public spending. Milei, who donates her salary as a deputy, earns $1,700 a month. On the other side of the Andes Mountains, in Chile, she charges ten times more for the same work.

There are also disruptive proposals: instead of privatizing it, Milei proposed handing over Aerolíneas Argentinas, the loss-making state aviation company, to its employees. It will give you money to run it for a year and make the adjustment that makes it viable. Horror gripped many union members.

Milei still does not confirm the name of his Minister of Economy, although Luis Caputo, former Minister of Finance of Mauricio Macri, looks like a favorite. That led Emilio Ocampo, the already announced next president of the Central Bank, to decline the offer. With it also goes the dollarization plan that Milei was going to implement.

“His idea of ​​replacing the peso with the dollar will have to wait, most likely, a long time,” said analyst Ignacio Miri this Friday in “Clarín.” Demien Reidel, a physicist with a doctorate from Harvard, will be the new president of the Central.

“It doesn’t matter who leads the economy: everyone who closely follows Argentina’s numbers knows that a bridge of dollars is needed to get through the summer and begin to see the currencies from the soybean harvest,” warned Florencia Donovan in “La Nation”.

After the big rise on Monday after the elections, Argentine stocks have fallen on Wall Street. Meanwhile, Milei builds bridges with Peronist figures, but also with the woman whom he left out of the runoff and the dream of being president: Patricia Bullrich will be his Minister of Security, the same position she held in Macri’s government.