February 19, 2023

Cry for Me, Argentina


Cry for Me, Argentina
An Argentine police officer at the Ezeiza Airport in Buenos Aires. La Nación, Instagram.

Since the war in Ukraine started, pregnant Russians have been traveling to Argentina in droves to give birth, to obtain a foreign, non-Russian passport. Originally, they were received with open arms.

That situation may be in jeopardy, however, after immigration officers detained six women trying to enter the country as tourists, but who were 32 weeks pregnant — weeks from giving birth. Argentinian authorities suspected the women were victims of criminal organizations that were engaging in migrant trafficking and falsification of documents.

On February 15, Police raided the home of Elena Kuklina, the head of a birth tourism agency suspected of falsifying home addresses and obtaining permanent residencies through an agent called Olga Guz. Local officials are also being investigated for taking part in the operation.

Another worry expressed by migration authorities is that 7000 Russians left Argentina for other countries immediately after obtaining Argentinian passports. Concern about the trustworthiness of the country's passports deepened after a Russian spy holding Argentine citizenship was caught in Slovenia. The National Director of Migrations, Florencia Carignano, suspects the person arrested was naturalized after having a child in Argentina.

In response, Kiril Makoneev, owner of  RuArgentina, the birth tourism agency under investigation, told La Nación that "money is the best filter" for getting trustworthy clients. He also accused the government of unfairly targeting Russians.

No changes have as yet been announced to Argentina's welcoming visa policy for Russians.

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