A leaked diplomatic cable from the U.S. Embassy in Argentina states that current presidential candidate Mauricio Macri accused U.S. officials of being “too soft” on the government of Argentina.
Reporting on a meeting between the U.S. Ambassador and Macri in November 2009, the cable, published by WikiLeaks, and previously analyzed in the book “Argenleaks: Los cables de Wikileaks sobre la Argentina, de la A a la Z” by Santiago O’Donnell, states:
Macri reprised an earlier conversation with [the then Assistant Secretary of State for the Western Hemisphere, Thomas Shannon, the State Department’s top official for Latin America] regarding the need to set limits on the Kirchners’ misbehavior and the USG’s supposed “softness” on the Kirchners. He argued that the USG’s “silence” on the abusive mistreatment it suffered at the hands of the Kirchners (such as at the 2005 Mar del Plata Summit of the Americas) had encouraged more of the same.
The leaked conversations are likely to be noticed in a heated presidential race where Argentina’s national sovereignty, especially with regard to Washington, has been raised as an issue. The Argentine economy was restructured in the 1990s and fell into a deep depression from 1998–2002, under the tutelage of the Washington-dominated International Monetary Fund. And last year a New York judge ruled in favor of “vulture funds,” blocking Argentina from paying its creditors. Many Argentines have become wary of U.S. influence as a result of these and other interventions from Washington that had negative outcomes.
“This would probably be a bombshell revelation in any country’s presidential election,” CEPR Co-Director Mark Weisbrot said today. “Asking a powerful foreign country, especially the U.S. – considering its track record in Argentina – to come down harder on your own government is not likely to be viewed positively.”
The cable, classified as “confidential,” reports many complaints and harsh criticisms of the Kirchners by Macri, including that they had “succeeded in alienating the United States.” The U.S. ambassador appears to disagree with this claim:
Macri said the Kirchners had succeeded in alienating Washington to the point where Washington did not care what Argentina (unlike Brazil or Chile) had to say about anything. The Ambassador sought to disabuse Macri of that notion, arguing that Washington remained fully committed to deepening and strengthening relations with Argentina. She pointed out that Washington was keenly aware of Argentina’s position in the world as an agricultural powerhouse and of Argentine cooperation, actual and potential. As an example, she cited Argentina’s role in developing satellites to be launched by NASA as evidence of Washington’s appreciation for the high-tech value that Argentina could bring to bear.