Mirtha Legrand: -“And lithium? In Jujuy there is a lot of lithium…”
Javier Milei: – “Well, one of the things that happened to me is that Elon Musk called me, who is extremely interested in lithium. And the US government and many US companies are also very interested…”
Javier Milei- “but they need a legal framework that respects property rights…”
The president’s eyes even shone when he told the driver about the millionaire’s call and the urgent needs of the serial looters who see the country as a sacrifice zone and who found a perfect sepoy.
It is not the first exchange between the tycoon and Milei. On December 5, 2023, Musk shared on the social network X, a video of the president-elect criticizing social justice, to which the libertarian responds “We need to talk, Elon”[tenemos que hablar].
Repeal of the Land Law at the request of the Southern Command and the magnates
After knowing the package of looting measures that includes the DNU and the Omnibus Law, it can be reaffirmed that they are part of the war plan of the libertarian government against the working people, the indigenous communities, the socio-environmental, women’s and dissident movements, and all of us who for decades have conquered democratic freedoms and rights in the streets and from the territories.
This plan includes concrete measures to make a leap in the looting and extractivism of natural common goods such as lithium, copper and other minerals, hydrocarbons and the soils and forests plundered by agribusiness. With a stroke of a pen, they want to erase different laws that express legal obstacles, such as the Land Law, the Glacier Law, the Burning Control Law and the Native Forest Law that, despite their limitations, were an expression of years of struggle of movements and sectors in the territories, stopping the advance of polluting mega-mining, monoculture and extractive activities.
In fact, Emergency Law 26,160 of 2006, which Milei and Villarruel also seek to repeal, recognizes the possession of indigenous peoples in territories that they ancestrally occupy and prevents evictions. It made it possible to account for these abuses and put a stop to them in some cases, beyond the lack of execution of the survey included in the law, and of minimum measures that were not guaranteed.
In the north as in the south, the defense of glaciers and periglacials, of water, of the right to live in the territories, of indigenous communities and populations against any policy of dispossession and of making them zones of sacrifice, put limit to foreignization by multinationals and transnationals. As well as magnates like Lewis or Benetton, appropriators of paradisiacal places, in indigenous territory, for their rest. This resistance was at the cost of repression, persecutions and even murders like that of Santiago Maldonado and Rafael Nahuel and Qom brothers.
Musk: “we will carry out a coup d’état against whoever we want…”
The phrase had global repercussions in 2020 when the magnate responded to someone who consulted him on the social network
The truth is that Elon Musk has been asking for guarantees to advance in businesses linked to lithium extractivism to provide raw materials for his “gigafactories”, or “gigafactories”, as he calls them, for the production of electric cars that he already has in the United States, Germany, China and soon in Mexico and whose production goal for 2030 is 20 million electric cars.
He found an openly declared ally in Javier Milei. Although, let’s say everything, years ago it had already been advancing in the country with agreements with companies that supply lithium, such as the current Archadium Lithium (exLivent, of Yankee capital merged with the Australian Allkem) located in the Salar del Hombre Muerto in Catamarca. In the case of Bolivia, a German company supplied it but its contract was canceled prior to the coup.
In April 2022, on his Twitter account, Elon Musk expressed that:
“The price of lithium has risen to incredible levels! Tesla may have to go straight into mining and refining at scale unless costs improve.
There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is found almost everywhere on Earth, but the pace of extraction/refinement is slow…”
Price of lithium has gone to insane levels! Tesla might actually have to get into the mining & refining directly at scale, unless costs improve.
There is no shortage of the element itself, as lithium is almost everywhere on Earth, but pace of extraction/refinement is slow.
— Elon Musk (@elonmusk) April 8, 2022
Immediately, the serial deliverers wasted no time in responding to it and offering the lithium to the highest bidder. One of them was the former governor of Jujuy Gerardo Morales, who invited the magnate to tour the province, offering him facilities for his business and demagogically expressing: “Who knows, maybe the next GIGAFACTORY will be JUJEÑA.”
Hello Elon, I am Gerardo Morales, Governor of Jujuy (Argentina). The country’s two largest lithium production projects are being executed here with a total capacity of 80k tonnes per year and 20k hectares of lithium reserves available for exploration. We are Jujuy Verde https://t.co/IUbF4pzQqg pic.twitter.com/DsjW8CV2jA
— Gerardo Morales (@GerardoMorales) April 8, 2022
Another who responded to the call was the mileist Pablo Rutigliano, president of the Latin American Lithium Chamber. Curiously, he picked up the thread in September of this year, one month before the presidential elections in October, proposing that lithium would have to be declared a commodity.
@elonmusk @stats_feed In order to articulate the price and its commercialization, it is necessary that lithium be declared a commodity. For this reason, the digitalization of contracts in the metals market is important.
@elonmusk @stats_feed In order to be able to articulate the price and its commercialization, it is necessary that lithium is declared as a commodity. For this reason, digitization of contracts in the metals market is important.
— PABLO RUTIGLIANO (@PabloRutiglian4) September 24, 2023
Milei’s friend who is also getting into the business is Paolo Rocca. The oil arm of the Techint group, Tecpetrol, bought the shares of a Canadian mining company with two advanced lithium projects. And among the local players is the businessman Luis Manzano.
Japanese, Australian, Chinese and American companies, among the most important, are already operating in Argentina in order to ensure control of the lithium supply chain for their green businesses linked to the automotive industry.
The lithium triangle is an area crossed by the geopolitical interests of the imperialist countries, as Laura Richardson, head of the US Southern Command, openly stated, who held meetings with Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, expressing the actions of military troops to take care of the territories of possible conflicts. In addition to lithium, oil and the waters of the Guaraní aquifer and the Amazon are in the crosshairs.
Natural assets and territories had already been looted in previous governments, but the progress expressed in the DNU and the Omnibus Law implies a absolute dedication erasing all legal and constitutional limits imposed with years of struggle.
The resistance of indigenous peoples and their denied rights
The indigenous peoples are an example of resistance in their historical fight for the recognition of their ancestrally occupied territories. The debt of the Argentine bourgeois State, which recognizes “property rights” to foreigners but does not have the same standard with the native communities, shows that the only property they recognize is that which is a function of capitalist profit. The communal property of oppressed peoples, who consider themselves guardians of the common goods, as something that belongs to them collectively but not for profit and destruction, but rather being part of and respecting nature and a legacy to leave to future generations ( the idea of sustainability); It does not have the same status and is denied even when international law itself recognizes it.
If previous governments maintained a certain ambiguity in this regard, Milei is a seamless exponent of capitalist private property. Everything else… “outside!”
The freedom that it proclaims is not individual freedom, because some individuals, as we have already seen, are more important than others, it is the freedom of capitalists, business freedom, to the detriment of the freedom of the majority, of the majority’s access to enjoy our lands and our natural assets and to the detriment of the rights of indigenous peoples.
The enormous mobilizations in Mendoza and Chubut in defense of water against the advance of mega-mining and, more recently, the fight of the people of Jujuy with the native communities as a leading actor against the Reform, are milestones of recent times in defense of the territories and natural goods.
We need these experiences to deepen and for those who were protagonists of them to play an active role to promote the broadest coordination and unity in the territories and cities, between the communities and the workers, to prepare for the general strike of 24 of January called by the CGT and defeat Milei’s Chainsaw Plan
In defense of territory, water and life. Against the looting of common goods and the foreignization of lands that Milei intends to deepen for large landowners, magnates like Elon Musk and imperialist powers. No evictions of indigenous communities, full validity of Law 26,160 and delivery of community titles throughout the country. Restitution of their territories appropriated by billionaires like Benetton or Lewis. These are central ideas to raise at this time.
We have the strength to fight and not only stop or limit the looting, but also so that the lithium and the natural common goods are in the hands of the indigenous peoples who live in those territories and the workers, for their care (and that of the water) and define what to do with them based on the needs of the majority.