Sánchez recalls Spanish ambassador to Argentina because Milei called his wife “corrupt” and refuses to apologise

MileiJavier Milei

The disagreements between the Argentine and Spanish presidents go back a long way: Sánchez already called Milei a “reactionary” and refused to congratulate him when he won the elections in Argentina. But things got complicated when a Spanish government minister, Oscar Puente, publicly insinuated that Milei was on drugs.

The Argentine government demanded an apology from the Spanish government, which the latter refused to offer. So last weekend, at a meeting of far-right leaders in Madrid, Milei called Sánchez’s wife “corrupt” (a judge is investigating Begoña Gómez, Sánchez’s wife, for her letters of recommendation for companies she works with to win public contracts) and that sparked the ire of the Spanish president, who demanded a public apology that the Argentinean leader has refused to offer. “How can I apologise if I am the offended party,” he explained on Argentinian television.

The reaction, excessive according to diplomatic sources, has been the withdrawal of the Spanish ambassador to Argentina, in an unprecedented escalation of tension between two “brotherly” countries with close economic ties.

According to analysts in the Spanish press, Sánchez’s “overreaction” is only aimed at mobilising his electorate in the run-up to the European elections on 9 June, where the Spanish president is once again seeking to establish himself as a bulwark against the advance of the right.

In a predictable turn of events, the PSOE government has demanded that the PP back its decisions and condemn Milei’s statements, something that the popular leader, Alberto Nuñez Feijoó, has also refused to do, showing himself to be equidistant from Sánchez’s “theatre” and Milei’s accusations, and recalling that it was a Spanish minister who first insulted the Argentine leader.

An endless stream of nonsense that has generated enormous uncertainty among the dozens of Spanish companies working in Argentina -Spain is the second largest investor in that country, behind only the US- who are calling for moderation and dialogue to redress the situation.

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The Corner
The Corner has a team of on-the-ground reporters in capital cities ranging from New York to Beijing. Their stories are edited by the teams at the Spanish magazine Consejeros (for members of companies’ boards of directors) and at the stock market news site Consenso Del Mercado (market consensus). They have worked in economics and communication for over 25 years.