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ARGENTINA | 17-05-2024 16:45

Javier Milei visits Spain without meeting the King or Pedro Sánchez

This is Milei’s first visit to Spain since being inaugurated.

Argentine President Javier Milei is visiting Spain starting on Friday without meeting with King Felipe or the head of State, and a short while after a clash with a Spanish minister, all ingredients which feed into the impression of coldness in Madrid-Buenos Aires relations.

In his first visit to Spain since being inaugurated as President in December, Milei will talk about his book “El camino del libertario (The libertarian’s road)” on Friday at the auditorium of Spanish newspaper La Razón, and on Saturday he will meet businesspeople.

On Sunday, he will be the star guest of a rally organised by Spanish far-right party Vox, led by Santiago Abascal, which will also be attended by French politician Marine Le Pen and Chilean José Antonio Kast.

The event, which will feature video presentations by Italian Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni, and her Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban, was dubbed Europa Viva 24, and described by Vox as a “convention of European patriots” in the face of the European election on June 9.

Milei and Abascal boast about their good relations, and as soon as the Spanish politician announced on X the organisation of this rally, the Argentine President answered: “I’ll be there with all of you once again, dear FRIEND! LONG LIVE LIBERTY, DAMN IT!”

After the rally on Sunday, Milei will return to Argentina.

His schedule does not include a meeting with the head of State, King Felipe VI, who attended his inauguration, or the Prime Minister, socialist Pedro Sánchez, who expressed his support for Milei’s rival in the election campaign, Sergio Massa.

More things have happened since, because Transport minister Óscar Puente made the “mistake”, in his own words after apologising, of claiming that Milei had taken “substances” prior to a speech.

“There are very bad people who, by being themselves, have reached the top”, he added, in reference to the Argentine chief executive.

The Argentine Government issued a tough press release condemning these words, but, following Puente’s apology, the matter was “closed” and “finished”, as stated by Argentine presidential spokesman Manuel Adorni on May 6, not without holding it to be “quite aggressive” for “another country’s minister to say that our President is taking some substance”.

Milei’s arrival comes shortly after Planeta took his book out of circulation in Spain, because its flap contained “incorrect data about his academic qualifications”, the publishing house explained in a press release published on X on May 15, where it “apologised to the President”.

“There are conflictive attitudes by both parties accelerating some deterioration”, stated on Spanish-Argentine relations Carlos Malamud, Latin American specialist of the Real Instituto Elcano, a Spanish think tank.

Among them, he quoted Sánchez’s support for Massa in the campaign, or this visit by Milei to Spain without meeting top authorities. 

“There is much at stake in Spanish-Argentine relationships to keep both parties from working a bit more at maintaing their traditional levels, which is typically great intensity on every front”, added Malamud in an analysis piece published in April.

 

--TIMES/AFP

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