In the brain-addled state that The Bubble’s Demian Bio and Valentina Iricibar found themselves in during the week leading up to US President Barack Obama’s visit to Argentina — so many anticipatory articles! So little time! — they decided to play a drinking game* called “Cringeworthy Moments Between The US And Argentina.” This is what they came up with.
*there was no drinking game. We’re just nerds.
- Ah, there’s nothing quite like good old Wikileaks for political gaffes. In 2012, then Secretary of State Hillary Clinton sent various secret cables to the US Embassy here in Argentina questioning former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s mental health just as the US and Argentina were striving to show rapprochement and understanding:
“What steps does Cristina Fernández de Kirchner or her advisers/handlers take in helping her deal with stress? Is she taking any medications?” We can only imagine Cristina’s reaction: stocking up the medicine cabinet. Awkward.
- While on a private visit to Argentina in 2006, Barbara Bush, daughter of former US President George W. Bush, had her purse and her cell phone stolen despite being surrounded by police and the Secret Service. *Slow clap*
- One of the most passive-aggressive exchanges seen in the White House gardens (Sasha and Malia going through their teenage years there notwithstanding) was between US President Ronald Reagan and newly elected democratic President Raúl Alfonsín (who came to power after the last military dictatorship). Reagan took an indirect jab at Argentina’s support of the Nicaraguan opposition in its revolution (while the US backed the right-wing government) by saying that “those who help our enemies are our enemies.”
Far from turning the other cheek, Alfonsín criticized the US’s role in the conflict, calling it out for supporting military juntas: “One of the big differences between our countries [is that] we respect democratic philosophy and freedom.” Oh, snap.
- In January 2015, the political clusterfuck generated by the death of Prosecutor Alberto Nisman, who was investigating the 1994 Argentine-Israeli Mutual Association (AMIA) Jewish center bombing, not only shook the country, but also made headlines across the world. That same year, New Yorker journalist Dexter Filkins met up with Cristina and asked her about the ongoing investigation. The actual content of the interview took the back seat however when following a question about the reason why Cristina had suggested Nisman had committed suicide without knowing what had actually happened, she stopped the journalist short to repeatedly tell him in English that he had “bad information.”
This painful translation generated an avalanche of memes and because we love you here at The Bubble, we’re including this magnificent remix called “Bad Information,” featuring anti-Kirchnerite journalist and TV personality Jorge Lanata. Our hearts and ears have been touched forever.
- Remember the holdouts, aka vulture funds, litigating against Argentina over defaulted bonds? Remember how Cristina swore that they would “never pay” them and the previous administration made the issue a matter of national sovereignty? Yeah. Well, after New York Judge Thomas Griesa declared Argentina to be in contempt of court for not negotiating with the holdouts, Cristina may or may not have called Griesa a “senile old judge.” Badass? Maybe. But mostly cringeworthy. Read more: Vulture Funds Conflict: A Comprehensive Timeline
- Keeping up with the ballsy phrases and speeches, here we have former President Néstor Kirchner talking about the US being the cause of poverty, misery and institutional instability throughout Latin America… with George W. Bush sitting right in front of him. Read more: A Guide To US-Argentine Relations From Presidents Menem To Macri
Hey, at least he didn’t dance around shouting “ALCA, ALCA… al carajo” (“ALCA, ALCA… fuck ALCA”) like Hugo Chávez did while attending the Summit of the Americas. No, really.
- Remember the Pope’s visit to the US, so filled with emotion and excitement? Well, so do the press, who stood outside Francis’ plane waiting for him to disembark, cameras and recorders at the ready. Except that he ended up waiting a small eternity for Obama to arrive on site — allegedly a matter of protocol — ultimately looking like the last kid to be picked up from school because Mom forgot about him.
- Since we’re totally counting Pope Francis as Argentine here, please enjoy the following footage of former US House Speaker John Boehner crying during Pope Francis’ speech addressing parishioners outside Congress. Sobs aside, the face he pulls is pure gold. Let it all out, John.
- In 2011, then Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman sparked an international controversy with the US after he led the seizure of what he said was undeclared military equipment the US had brought to the country under the guise of providing the country police training course. While Argentine representatives said the US tried to sneak in “guns and different kinds of drugs, morphine among them” and announced they would present a formal complaint, their US counterparts claimed those items were usually taken to all training courses and demanded for them to be immediately restored. The course, of course, was subsequently cancelled.
- At the Summit of the Americas in 2012, held in Colombia, US President Barack Obama decided to include the issue of the Malvinas in his speech, to underline the US’s neutrality on the sovereignty conflict. So neutral, in fact, that he called them the “Maldives.”
This might just be us becoming addicted to the constant state of Schadenfreude, but we’re looking forward to whatever gaffe might come our way during Obama’s visit. We trust that Macri will deliver.