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Argentinian President speaks at Spain's far-right conference in Madrid

Demonstrators gather to protest against far-right meeting featuring Milei in Madrid
Demonstrators gather to protest against far-right meeting featuring Milei in Madrid Copyright AP.
Copyright AP.
By Euronews with AP
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Protests form in Madrid after Argentinian President Javier Milei speaks at a far-right conference hosted by Spain's Vox party.

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Hundreds of protesters were gathering in Madrid on Sunday to protest against the Argentinian president Javier Milei on the second day of his three day visit to Spain.

Typically, a visiting head of state might try to mend fences through diplomacy, but not Milei.

The outspoken economist has no plans to meet Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez during his stay in the Spanish capital, nor the Spanish king, nor any other government official. Instead, he will attend a far-right summit on Sunday hosted by Sánchez's fiercest political opponent, the Vox party.

These demonstrations represent not just a local response but a global protest, with participation from Argentinian citizens living in Spain. Many see the meeting in Madrid as a significant step in the international consolidation of fascism.

Even before his three-day visit to Madrid began on Friday, Milei stirred controversy by accusing the socialist government of bringing “poverty and death” to Spain and commenting on corruption allegations against the prime minister's wife.

This unorthodox visit is business as usual for Milei, a favourite of the global far-right who has bonded with tech billionaire Elon Musk and praised former U.S. President Donald Trump. 

Earlier this year, during a trip to the United States, Milei avoided the White House and instead spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), where he railed against abortion and socialism and shared a hug with Trump.

Caricatures of Giorgia Meloni, Javier Milei, Jair Bolsonaro,
Caricatures of Giorgia Meloni, Javier Milei, Jair Bolsonaro,AP Photo

The Vox summit on Sunday aims to gather far-right figures from across Europe to rally the party's base ahead of the European parliamentary elections in June. Milei described his attendance as a “moral imperative.” 

Tensions between Milei and Sánchez began since the Spanish prime minister declined to congratulate the libertarian economist on his surprising election victory last November. 

And hostility escalated earlier this month when one of Sánchez’s ministers suggested Milei had taken narcotics. The Argentine presidency responded with an unusually harsh official statement accusing Sánchez’s government of “endangering the middle class with its socialist policies that bring nothing but poverty and death.”

The lengthy statement also accused Sánchez of having “more important problems to deal with, such as the corruption accusations against his wife." The allegations of influence peddling and corruption against Sánchez’s wife, Begoña Gómez, brought by a right-wing group, had prompted Sánchez, one of Europe’s longest-serving Socialist leaders, to consider stepping down.

Argentina's president Javier Milei gestures as he delivers a speech on stage during the Spanish far-right wing party Vox's rally
Argentina's president Javier Milei gestures as he delivers a speech on stage during the Spanish far-right wing party Vox's rallyManu Fernandez/Copyright 2024 The AP. All rights reserved.

Milei takes to the podium

In a speech at the conference, Argentine President Javier Milei advocated for ending state welfare, stating, “We must destroy this parasitic idea of the West, that politicians have to take care of the citizen from the cradle to the grave,” and adding, “Social justice is always unfair.” 

President Milei also bashed socialism saying, “Despite the cries of the left, the free market generates prosperity for everyone. Socialism has always been an economic and social failure. Opening the door to socialism is inviting death. Today it is more important than ever to point it out.”

He also commented on Spain's President, Pedro Sánchez and his wfie Begoña Gómez, whom he described as “corrupt.” 

“They don't know what kind of society and country socialism can produce and what kind of people screwed in power and what levels of abuse it can generate. Even if he has a corrupt wife, he gets dirty and takes five days to think about it,”

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