Spain removes ambassador to Argentina amid diplomatic crisis

Milei had refused to apologize for accusing the Spanish first lady of being ‘corrupt’

Spanish Foreign Minister José Manuel Albares announced on Tuesday that the country will remove its ambassador to Argentina after President Javier Milei refused to publicly apologize for accusing Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez’s wife, Begoña Gómez, of being “corrupt.”

“The situation has not changed. Therefore, we will remove our ambassador from Buenos Aires. She will remain permanently in Madrid. Argentina will go on without an ambassador,” said Albares in a press conference.

Albares had initially recalled Ambassador María Jesús Alonso Jiménez on Sunday for consultation sine die, meaning she was to return to her home country indefinitely. Alonso Jiménez left Argentina on Sunday night.

Tension between Argentina and Spain has been brewing since early May, when Spanish Transport Minister Oscar Puente suggested Milei was a drug user. The situation swiftly escalated the past weekend after Milei spoke at an event organized by far-right Spanish political party Vox ahead of the June 9 European Parliament elections. 

Without naming her, Milei called the Spanish First Lady “corrupt” during his speech due to accusations that she had been involved in an influence peddling scandal. Spanish prosecutors have dropped the investigation into her because there was no proof of her involvement.

The Spanish government quickly rejected the comments and demanded a public apology. Albares met with Argentine Ambassador to Spain Roberto Bosch on Monday after asking him to apologize on behalf of Milei. Bosch’s position was that Argentine authorities trust that relations between the two governments “can be redirected to put them in line with what our societies demand of us” after the European Parliament elections.

During the Tuesday press conference, Albares said the government “will analyze in detail what kind of visit Milei intends to make.” He mentioned that, during Milei’s latest trip, the Spanish state “put all the necessary resources to receiving him with the hospitality and dignity his role deserves.”

The president spoke about the incident in an interview with TN news station, saying he would not apologize “under any circumstances.”

“How can I apologize if I was the one who was attacked?”

Milei said that, despite the tensions, ties with Spain “will never break” because “that relationship is not built by authorities but rather by people.” He added that Sánchez is using the situation for his political benefit “because he has problems in Spain and needs to polarize.”

The president is scheduled to return to Madrid to receive a recognition from the Juan Mariana Institute for his “exemplary defense of the ideas of freedom” on June 21, according to the organization’s website.


All Right Reserved.  Buenos Aires Herald