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Montevideo, June 24th 2024 - 19:45 UTC



Milei arrives in Rio Gallegos enroute to Antarctica

Saturday, January 6th 2024 - 11:03 UTC
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Milei is to tour the Marambio and Esperanza bases, weather permitting Milei is to tour the Marambio and Esperanza bases, weather permitting

Argentine President Javier Milei landed at around 8.30 pm Friday in Río Gallegos to stay the night before flying on to the Marambio Base in Antarctica. Traveling with the head of state were Ministers Diana Mondino (Foreign Affairs), Guillermo Francos (Interior), and Luis Petri (Defense) as well as Presidential Secretary Karina Milei, among other officials making up the entourage of 23.

The delegation was welcomed at the Norberto Fernández Airport by Santa Cruz Governor Claudio Vidal and other local authorities. At dawn Saturday, the presidential team was to board an Air Force Lockheed C-130 Hercules aircraft to Antarctica where a program aimed at detecting and reducing the presence of microplastics in the snow is to be launched.

The flight should take about three and a half hours, according to Casa Rosada sources. However, all itineraries to Antarctica are weather permitting. Milei is scheduled to arrive at 9.30 am at Marambio. Later Saturday he will travel by helicopter for about 25 minutes to the Army's Esperanza Base, the only settlement where the crew lives with their families, including children who attend the school built there.

Milei's environmental undertaking represents a shift from his campaign speech when he claimed climate change was a fraud. Now he is leading the “Nutec Plastics” initiative in Argentina, one of the 30 countries developing nuclear irradiation technologies for recycling plastic waste.

The Argentine Antarctic Institute investigated in 2022 the presence of microscopic particles of plastics at the Carlini base. This project was carried out in international scientific cooperation with France and is currently at a standstill due to budgetary constraints.

The first President to travel to Antarctica was Arturo Frondizi in 1961, two years after signing a document in which he recognized it as part of the State and as a space for peaceful purposes.

Carlos Menem visited the Antarctic bases Marambio and Esperanza on Dec. 27, 1997, and Alberto Fernández brought the 26-year hiatus to an end on Feb. 22, 2023, marking the Argentine Antarctic Day celebrations.

Milei left at 5.28 pm aboard a Learjet 60SE known as “Tanguito 11” from the military base at the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Airport Jorge Newbery. An Argentine Air Force Boeing 737-76N aircraft carried other members of Milei's group.

Milei will then return to Marambio to formally launch the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) program. IAEA head Rafael Grossi will join the ceremony. The Argentine Grossi said that his trip to Antarctica was “a historic step” because “it is the first time that the agency starts a scientific mission” on that continent.

Categories: Politics, Antarctica, Argentina.

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