Our woman in Havana (Or, Mrs. Kirschner goes to Caracas)

After spending three days in the kingdom of 78-year-old Castro the Younger, Argentine Presidenta Cristina Kirschner wrapped up her trip to Cuba this week with a short visit to Fidel himself, a meeting he later described as “intense and interesting,” but one which posed no apparent threat to his health. The following day, Fidel wrote a short op-ed about the rendezvous in the Cuban paper Granma (which miraculously has a website) saying little of interest except that he’s optimistic about an Obama presidency, and that he’s quite fond of Cristina. FYI, this is what his signature looks like:

After leaving Cuba, Cristina continued on her grand tour with a trip to Venezuela, where she met yesterday with the Obelix to Castro’s Asterix, President-for-life Hugo Chávez. While in Caracas, Kirschner and Chávez signed a bilateral agreement to cooperate in the areas of energy and agriculture (read: cheap oil for Argentina). Aside from the obvious strain this places on Argentina’s relationship with the U.S., this move is particularly contentious as Chávez recently nationalized an Argentine steel company, and, last Friday, expelled the Israeli ambassador for the war in Gaza. But this is nothing new. The buddy-buddy relationship between these countries has been a source of concern since Cristina’s election in 2007, when Chávez endorsed her campaign with the statement that he admires her more each day, and Argentine Jews began to worry about their new president’s questionable friends. Cristina, for her part, has defended her engagement with Chávez on the grounds of necessity, stating in the International Herald Tribune that “the Latin American energy equation won’t be solved without the presence of Venezuela and Bolivia.” “Latin America,” Kirschner remarked, “needs Chávez like Europe needs Putin.”

~ by Jessica on January 22, 2009.

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