Monday 29 April 2024 - Monocle Minute | Monocle

Monday. 29/4/2024

The Monocle Minute

The Opinion

Up in the air: Javier Milei

Image: Alamy

Culture / Ed Stocker

Director’s cut

Whatever you want to call him – far-right populist, libertarian or Trumpian “non-politician” – it’s clear that Argentina’s new president, Javier Milei, is taking a sledgehammer to his country’s institutions. And it will probably do irrevocable damage to the South American nation. His drastic cuts to public higher education risk turning it into a system where only the elite have access to the best schooling. Culture and media are also under threat. In March, 80-year-old state news agency Télam shut down as a result of Milei’s long-standing criticism. Now Milei’s promise to radically reduce state spending and bring the fiscal deficit into check has turned its sights on the country’s film-funding body, the National Institute for Cinema and Audiovisual Arts (Incaa), which was forced to close last week. Workers have been sent on temporary leave while the institution undergoes an internal reorganisation.

Even if Incaa hobbles on, it will probably be stripped of resources. I still remember visiting its space at the Gaumount Cinema in Buenos Aires. For a small entry fee, you could delve into the exciting and often experimental world of Argentina’s film industry. In large part thanks to Incaa, the country became a Latin American powerhouse, turning out a solid line of producers, directors and actors. The institute was a backer of one of the most successful Argentinian films of recent times, El Secreto de sus Ojos, which was directed by Juan José Campanella and won an Oscar in 2010.

Milei’s cuts to education are arguably more damaging than his decision to go after the film industry. But his Incaa move hurts so much because the institute has been, for much of the world, its window onto a smart, contradictory, complex and diverse country. Javier Milei is the gust that threatens to slam that window shut.

Ed Stocker is Monocle’s Europe editor at large. He lived in Buenos Aires from 2009 to 2014. For more opinion, analysis and insight, subscribe to Monocle today.

The Briefings

Economy / Africa

On the money

African leaders and World Bank representatives are in Nairobi today for the African Heads of State Summit. The Kenyan government and the World Bank’s International Development Association will be hosting the meeting, which presents an opportunity for leaders to discuss practical ways to get large-scale social-development projects off the ground. This initiative follows Kenya president William Ruto’s ongoing policy of championing pan-African interconnectedness and innovation. “The summit comes at a critical time for Africa’s economies,” Tara O’Connor, founder and executive director of Africa Risk Consulting, tells The Monocle Minute. “In the aftermath of the coronavirus pandemic, governments were forced to increase social spending and dramatically increase debts. This has limited the amounts available to spend on development. Now the World Bank is looking to create investment opportunities that foster economic independence.”


Security / Japan

Familiar toon

Japan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs has enlisted the help of late manga artist Takao Saito to help protect the country’s citizens who are living overseas. It has updated its security guidelines for small to mid-sized Japanese enterprises abroad and provides advice for its nationals living in Africa and the Middle East who might be at risk due to political unrest. The move comes after Japanese citizens had to be repatriated from Niger and Sudan last year following outbreaks of violence.

The manga features Golgo 13, a professional assassin whose exploits have been serialised in action films and video games. In the guidelines, he encourages his compatriots to contact the local Japanese consulate in case of emergency and to purchase travel insurance with sufficient health coverage. In the new strip, a character modelled on the country’s foreign minister, Yoko Kamikawa, requests that Golgo 13 protect Japanese citizens from harm. During times of heightened security, it is hoped that Golgo 13’s adamantine track record will provide both reassurance and a bit of light relief.

Pick up a copy of Monocle’s May issue for more unlikely finds, insights and ideas from our global network of reporters.

Design / Copenhagen

Refined palette

Copenhagen-based paint company Bleo launched this spring and has since tapped into an impressive roster of artists, architects and designers to bring colour into our homes. Its list of collaborators includes the likes of French designer Ronan Bouroullec, UK architect David Chipperfield and Dutch designer Sabine Marcelis, who chose trademark pastel hues for her paint collection.

Image: Belo

“We believe in carefully selecting and curating our products alongside the finest creative minds,” says Anne Grønskov Sørensen, founder of Bleo. “In our view, all of them are colour experts.” The water-based, non-toxic paints are available in various finishes, from matte to gloss, and are packaged in biodegradable boxes. For those looking to brighten up their interiors, this is an innovative approach to simplifying palettes – and one that taps into some of the most celebrated creative minds of our day.

Beyond the Headlines

In print / Issue 173

Building blocks for the future

Mipim is the world’s leading property fair, attracting more than 20,000 delegates and exhibitors every year. It is also a melting pot of investors, planners and local leaders, who gather to discuss how to build better and more sustainable cities. This year, Monocle took to Cannes, where top industry players explained their optimism for the future of real estate.

Keep your delegations on track

Image: Stephanie Fussenich

Keeping things safe and secure and deals on yachts

Image: Stephanie Fussenich

Real-estate road map, you heard it here first

Image: Stephanie Fussenich

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Image: Verner Panton Design AG

Monocle Radio / Monocle on Design


The founder and deputy editor of the Milanese platform discuss what radical design means today, as well as the company’s approach to translating stories from the printed page into physical space.


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