Argentina’s former Treasury and Finance Minister returned to Olivos yesterday to have lunch with President Macri’s Chief of Cabinet, Marcos Peña, and rumor has it he was offered the US ambassadorship – albeit unofficially – and turned it down for “personal reasons.”
The politician, who left his cabinet post at the beginning of this year on Macri’s request, tweeted enthusiastically from his engagement at the presidential residence and later updated his followers about his visit to the Spanish Embassy during the afternoon, where he was expected to shed light on the matter of the US ambassadorship. Although no mention of it was made in the end, Prat-Gay did offer some words regarding Argentine-American relations: “we have everything to win in our trade relations with the US, because 80 percent of the products we want to send there can’t get in because of a tariff barrier.”
— Alfonso Prat-Gay (@alfonsopratgay) May 4, 2017
As speculation circulated about the purpose of the Olivos lunch, which followed the resignation of now former Ambassador Martín Lousteau, who left the post to compete in this year’s midterm elections, representatives from the Casa Rosada tried to play down the meeting and stressed that the intention was to “ratify a gesture of belonging.”
“Alfonso still belongs to Cambiemos. They talked about general issues because they had not seen each other for a long time, but there was no formal offer for the ambassadorship,” they explained. The conversation instead allegedly revolved around “politics, the economy and international affairs, especially the relationship with the United States,” as well as the midterms, for which Prat-Gay may well be running as a candidate for the City of Buenos Aires.
Considering his potential contention in the upcoming elections, news of his purported rejection of the diplomatic position is perhaps unsurprising. The former cabinet minister also rejected the post of Belgian Ambassador at the end of last year because, according to official sources, he has children of school age and consequently prioritized staying in Argentina for his family. It seems like Prat-Gay won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.