Argentina rejects politicization of Winter Games, calling for solidarity among all nations: ambassador
True triumph
Published: Feb 07, 2022 06:58 PM
Argentina Ambassador to China Sabino Vaca Narvaja Photo: Hu Yuwei/GT

Argentina Ambassador to China Sabino Vaca Narvaja Photo: Hu Yuwei/GT

Editor's Note:

Argentina has stated on multiple occasions that it firmly supports China hosting the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics.  In a recent exclusive interview with Global Times (GT) reporters Bai Yunyi and Hu Yuwei, Argentina's Ambassador to China, Sabino Vaca Narvaja (Narvaja), said that Argentina clearly rejects the politicization of the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics. It hopes that the world will see not only the success of the individual athletes, but also the triumph of solidarity and collectivism among all nations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

GT:On December 9, 2021, the Argentine Ministry of Foreign Affairs published a statement on its official website to announce its support for the Winter Games. Amid the "diplomatic boycott" announced by the US and some other countries, why was this decision made? 

Narvaja: Politicizing the Games is wrong, as it is supposed to be "an occasion for all nations to show solidarity and harmony." 

Our President, Alberto ángel Fernández, came to attend the Winter Games in person, which shows that Argentina attaches great importance to China's hosting of the Winter Olympic Games and attaches great importance to bilateral relations.

The Olympic Games should be an occasion for the world to come together and for sportsmanship to reign. That is why Argentina supported the Winter Games from the beginning and decided to send a delegation.

The world will see not only the success of individual athletes, but also the victory of solidarity and collectivism among all nations, especially amid the global fight against the COVID-19 pandemic.

GT: What expectations do you have for the Games and the performance of the Argentine delegation?

Narvaja: Six Argentinian athletes are competing in four of the 15 sports to be featured in the Winter Games, including cross-country skiing, alpine skiing, the luge, and ice skating.

Of course we expect the best from every Argentine athlete, but we are more interested in good sportsmanship. The real victory for all nations is that we can come together in one place so that the world can see not only individual victories but also a collectivist spirit.

I believe therein lies true triumph for our nations.

GT: How would you describe the passion of the Argentine people for winter sports? In the area of winter sports, how have Argentina and China engaged in collaboration and sports related exchange?

Narvaja: Argentina is one of the few South American countries with the appropriate weather conditions to perform winter sports. There are many ski resorts in the south of the country, which can also be used by other Latin American countries for winter tourism and sports. 

In the future, Argentina and China will jointly build more winter sports infrastructure like ski slopes to facilitate tourism.

China and Argentina have a comprehensive collaboration and exchange not only in winter sports, but also in other sports such as soccer. 

Argentina and China will jointly announce the founding of a Chinese-Argentine soccer academy with which we can have instructors brought to train Chinese players and intensify sports exchange. Sports cooperation will become a key area for future cooperation.

What's more, Argentina is similar to many Latin American countries that need a lot of infrastructural development, so we can work with China to improve the key infrastructure sectors that we have. 

GT: President Alberto ángel Fernández stated during the Democracy Summit convened by Washington that "democracy is not imposed with sanctions or by force." Some politicians have boycotted the Beijing Olympics under the guise of democracy and human rights. What is your opinion on such moves?

Narvaja: Some countries use democracy and human rights as political chess pieces to defame others. They often amplify other countries' issues with the excuse of human rights and democracy, while turning a blind eye to the dire situation in their own countries. Some countries cannot even fix their own human rights-related and democratic problems.

We must be very careful not to politicize Games like these, where the spirit is coexistence and harmony. If the pandemic has shown us anything, it is that we have to work together.

Our president is very much in tune with the idea of a shared destiny for humanity. We want to build a world where there is more harmony, more balance, where multilateralism prevails, and no country imposes its viewpoints on another. That is part of the message that our president gave at this summit.

GT: Some organizations warn athletes from the US, the UK, and other European countries not to bring their cell phones to China when attending the Winter Olympics over so-called concern over "surveillance." Is it a concern for Argentina?

Narvaja: Certainly not. We don't have any mistrust, either with regards to the issue of cell phones or with Chinese technology. In this sense, we work with a lot of Chinese technology companies. The truth is that there are many accusations against those companies, but they are not directly linked to China. Many of them lack consistency. It's just politicization and a dynamic of negativity. 

We are not going to join it because, to reiterate, we believe in the spirit of the Olympic Games. Our delegation is going to bring all its technology and cell phones.