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Spain and Argentina trade jibes in row before visit by President Milei

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The spat began when Spain’s transport minister said Argentina’s Javier Milei took drugs during last year’s election.

Spain and Argentina have their diplomatic daggers drawn and have traded jibes over drug use and economic decline.

The spat began on Friday when Spanish Transport Minister Oscar Puente, during a panel discussion in Salamanca, suggested that Argentina’s President Javier Milei had ingested “substances” during last year’s election campaign.

“I saw Milei on television” during the campaign, Puente told a Socialist Party conference.

“I don’t know if it was before or after the consumption … of substances.”

He also listed Milei among some “very bad people” who have reached high office.

Milei’s office responded on Saturday in a statement condemning the remarks and also attacking Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez.

The statement accused Sanchez of “endangering Spanish women by allowing illegal immigration” and undermining Spain’s integrity by making deals with separatists, while his left-wing policies brought “death and poverty”.

Spain reacted with fury.

“The Spanish government categorically rejects the unfounded words … which do not reflect the relations between the two countries and their fraternal people,” the Spanish foreign ministry said.

“The government and the Spanish people will continue to maintain and strengthen their fraternal links and their relations of friendship and collaboration with the Argentine people, a desire shared by all of Spanish society,” the statement added.

The spat comes two weeks before a visit to Spain by Argentina’s “anarcho-capitalist” president.

Milei will attend an event of the far-right Vox party and will be avoiding meeting Spain’s socialist head of government, Sanchez.

The two have never had good relations.

Sanchez supported Milei’s rival Sergio Massa in the election that brought Milei to power in December and has also not contacted Milei since the victory.

Milei has meanwhile publicly supported Spain’s far-right anti-immigration Vox party. Vox leader Santiago Abascal also went to Buenos Aires for Milei’s investiture.



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