“Portugal has a people with open arms that made me feel at home”
In different continents, distinct hemispheres and more than 10 thousand kilometers away, Portugal and Argentina have almost 200 years of historical relationship that has strengthened over the years. Representing Argentina in Portugal since 2015, Ambassador Oscar Moscariello explains how the friendship between the two peoples has been strengthened and identifies the iconic places to visit in this South American country.
Portugal was the first country to recognize the independence of Argentina in 1821. How do you assess the evolution of this bilateral relationship over the years?
The relationship between Portugal and Argentina, at that time the United Provinces of Rio de la Plata, was always excellent. Have been relations of friendship and permanent encounter. In fact, Argentina was also one of the fircst countries to recognize the Portuguese Republic as such. This potential for friendship has not been lost in time, and both countries make enormous efforts to deepen these relations, which have always been good since the first years of existence in Argentina. In addition, Argentina received, in distinct stages, many Portuguese emigrants. There are important Portuguese colonies in my country and even today there are about 50,000 Portuguese living in the Argentine Republic. With the efforts that Argentina has made to join different organizations, we have always counted on the support of Portugal. In a recent meeting between the Portuguese Prime Minister António Costa and the President of the Republic of Argentina Mauricio Macri, it was said that Portugal is a true supporter of Argentina in its intention to belong to the OECD or to confirm the agreement with the European Union. We have also taken advantage of the circumstances of having a chancellor in Argentina who was Ambassador to Portugal for 10 years [n. Jorge Faurie] and the fact that the current Portuguese prime minister and the current president of Argentina coincided while they held the posts of presidents of the cities of Lisbon and Buenos Aires respectively. Personal relationships in this context are very good and certainly help to strengthen relations between the two countries.
In what aspects has the migratory exchange contributed to the approchement between the two peoples?
In 2016 Argentina celebrated 200 years of its independence and the history of my country shows that there were two stages: colonization and “the arrival of men of good will who want to inhabit the Argentine soil”, as mentioned in the preamble of our Constitution. For example, I am a “typical product” of Italian immigration. A particularity of the Argentine people is the immediate integration that allows visitors and Argentina is a group of ethnic groups that made the country a mixture of all the peoples who arrived there, from Spanish, Portuguese, Italian or French. Currently there are about 50,000 Portuguese living in Argentina, but there have already been more than 150,000, which have been integrated over time. In Portugal there are approximately one thousand Argentines, of different professional characteristics and distributed a little throughout the geography. If we analyze the migratory currents we realize that the integration in both countries was full in all the aspects.
Sport is a common factor for both countries. How do you approach this issue?
Argentina has always been a great exporter of footballers. Football is the sport par excellence in Argentina, just as it is in Portugal. At the moment there are more than 350 Argentine players in the main European competitions and many have passed through Portugal, where they have grown. Argentine players are appreciated and admired, there are many Argentine clubs that transcend borders, are claimed abroad and are recognized for their quality. In Portugal there are several players who are part of the Argentina National Soccer Team and many who are loved and idolized. Therefore, I believe that the Argentine sportsmen are true ambassadors of the country.
What are the main similarities and differences between the two countries?
Because I feel at home, I do not feel great differences between the two countries. We Argentines also have this particularity of being kind to foreigners, of knowing how to receive and be good hosts, something that I found in Portugal. In fact, I do not find great elements that can differentiate us. I think we have the same origins and characteristics that unite us and, therefore, it is very easy to live and live between the two countries.
Read the full interview by downloading the 20th edition of I Like This in www.micas.pt.