The visit of President Alberto Fernandez to Washington, scheduled for this month, did not arrive at the worst of times. Argentina’s unpopular president is grappling with domestic crises, including a potentially triple-digit annual inflation rate and a shortage of international reserves that have forced to restrict imports of products ranging from whiskey to dog food.
they Powerful Vice President Christina Kirchner is on trial for corruption and prosecutors They asked for a 12-year prison sentence. In response, Alberto Fernandez echoed the denunciation of “judicial persecution” by Peronism and criticized the justice system’s alleged political bias. Because of his comments on justice, opposition leaders submitted requests for his removal. Recently, when supporters gathered in front of the vice president’s house and clashed with police, the mayor of Buenos Aires city government said Cristina Kirchner and her allies chose to “throw gasoline on the fire.” Days after these confrontations, an attack took place on the Vice President.
With this terrible interior panorama, Alberto Fernandez will reach his first meeting in the office Oval and head on something else. And when she tries to seduce investors, she will have a hard time disproving that image of a chaotic, floating state. But perhaps the biggest obstacle to the success of Fernandez’s trip to Washington is his foreign policy streak. Throughout his presidency, contradictions in his support for democracy and human rights have eroded one of the pillars of the relationship between the United States and Argentina. In recent months, as president of the Community of Latin American and Caribbean Nations (CELAC), the Argentine president has repeatedly criticized the United States, usually in defense of ruthless dictators in the region.
It is known that the management of relations between Argentina and the United States is complexEspecially in the context of tensions between Washington and Beijing. However, Argentina at times demonstrated the necessary diplomatic skill. Ambassador Jorge Arguelo is very active and widely admired in the US capital, and the former Speaker of the House of Representatives and current Argentine Minister of Economy, Sergio Massa, has managed to build strong relationships with the White House. Alberto Fernandez has also built bridges with the Biden government, such as last September, when he hosted a virtual summit on climate change with John Kerry, Biden’s envoy on climate issues. By doing so, Fernandez dispelled Washington’s bad humor about his rapprochement with China, such as the Argentine government’s decision in February to join the Belt and Road Initiative promoted by Beijing.
But Alberto Fernandez has rejected the importance of this connection on numerous occasionsEven before his scheduled visit to Washington. The most famous example is his trip in February to Moscow. As Vladimir Putin prepared to invade Ukraine, the Argentine president warmly welcomed the Russian dictator and offered him Argentina as a “gateway” to Russia in Latin America.
To top it off, this wasn’t the only time even from a distance Fernandez disappointed US hopes of lowering the human rights agenda Argentina. In June, Fernandez agreed to attend the Summit of the Americas in Los Angeles, but he did so reluctantly and ended up using the occasion to scold his host for excluding repressive leaders from Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. In August, at a summit of the Group of Latin American and Caribbean Nations in Buenos Aires, the Argentine president once again sided with Latin American leaders, demanding the immediate lifting of “unforgivable” US sanctions against Cuba and Venezuela. (In the same speech, Fernandez said, “The Islamic Development Bank has ceased to be a bank for Latin America,” before a meeting between Sergio Massa and the head of that important institution.)
The Argentine president made an incredible statement Left by Nicolas Maduro of human rights violations in Venezuela, despite the abundant evidence to the contrary and the ongoing investigation by the International Criminal Court. It is no coincidence that the president’s positions resonate with other officials in his government. Fernandez’s ambassador to China, Sabino Vaca Narvaga, has criticized the visit of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the US House of Representatives, to Taiwan. Argentine Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero called US Senator Ted Cruz “ignorant” when he said the United States should punish Cristina Kirchner for corruption.
who – which The unacceptable approach to the relationship with the United States is unfortunate, and for various reasons. First of all, and above all, because it does not suit Argentina. The United States is an influential member of the International Monetary Fund, as the latest rescue deal for Argentina remains in the balance. The United States is also a huge potential source of foreign investment for a country in dire need of dollars.
The United States is a natural ally of Argentina, and Fernandez has praised these policies Biden’s internal calls, to the point of referring to the US president as “Juan Domingo Biden.” For its part, the White House has sought to strengthen those ties. Jake Sullivan, Biden’s national security adviser, was in Olivus’ fifth presidential election, and in turn received his then-countryman, Gustavo Pelez, at the White House. In addition, the US Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, met in Washington with Secretary of State Cafiero.
But Fernandez’s foreign policy is often misleading because of the enormous potential Which has relations between the United States and Argentina. The United States is fully prepared to help Argentina double its food production to alleviate global food insecurity, and to boost oil and gas production in Vaca Muerta to alleviate the global energy crisis. In addition, the Patagonian winds can promote joint renewable energy development plans between the two countries. Argentina’s huge lithium reserves are another great opportunity for bilateral relations. Biden is pressing hard to expand the use of electric cars, and experts say lithium production in the United States will not be enough to meet demand from battery manufacturers.
those Common interests must reach So that the conversation between Biden and Fernandes is friendly and fruitful. Fortunately, there is still time to adjust the tone of the meeting. Before traveling to Washington, for example, President Fernandez could use his ties to Havana to negotiate the release of some political prisoners. Or he could try to persuade Maduro to resume negotiations with the opposition on the issue of elections in Venezuela. At the very least, Fernandez’s government should stop insulting the United States, so as not to add a diplomatic problem to its already complex agenda in Argentina.
Interim Program Director of the Wilson Center for Latin America
(Translated by Jaime Arambaid)