C’est vendredi, aujourd’hui!
And this is the week that our foreign policy agenda looked exactly like a Dan Brown novel, except there were no murders. Or mysterious riddles hidden in paintings. Or a looming threat. Come to think of it, the only similarity between our foreign policy agenda and a Dan Brown novel is that they both involve ancient capital cities.
That’s all. That doesn’t mean we don’t get to have fun though.
This is what you need to know.
- President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner left the annoying world of endless picketing and angry cab drivers this week and jumped the Atlantic for a one-on-one lunch with His Holiness Pope Francis at the Vatican catacombs. Her visit to her former nemesis was merely a pit stop, since the reason she went to Europe was to attend the Salon du Livre in Paris, but since Barack Obama is scheduled to meet with the Pope on Wednesday for the first time, she apparently got all territorial and stuff and decided to prove that the Pope is ours so she went to the Vatican for the second time since he became the king of the Catholic world just to make sure other world leaders don’t get the wrong idea.
- But alas! No matter how much she tries, it is hard for the President to NOT be the center of attention. As the President of Argentina, no other Argentine can steal her thunder or overshadow her. But how do you draw more attention than the man in white? By getting hurt, of course. So there she was, fashionably late on Monday morning, and wearing a medical boot because – quelle surprise – it turns out that she sprained her ankle the night before.
- Oh, don’t be so mean. Considering how much attention she pays to fashion, I’m pretty sure she would never choose to wear one of those things just for pretend when she’s carrying, like, ten pairs of Lou Vuittons or Loo Bhutans, or whatever those expensive shoes are called. She’s ambitious. Not stupid.
- The best part of the day came when she unveiled the gifts she had brought from a distant land (Buenos Aires) and that would eventually go to the Vatican’s garbage disposal. Because what do you get the supreme overlord of the littlest theocracy in the world? I mean, one of the Three Wise Men – who was already trolling Jesus in 0 AD – got him incense. INCENSE. That’s like getting your mom a bottle of drain cleaner for her birthday. So what could Cristina – a modern day troll – get her former enemy? Well let’s see. First he got him a really cool looking painting of a virgin. And I say “really cool” not because of its religious iconography but because the artist used Malbec wine as paint. Also, if you just said “Oh, man, I would totally lick that virgin,” congratulations. You just made the same joke that everyone on the interned made five days ago. She also gave him a book about Néstor Kirchner or something…. Yeah, I’m sure that’s going to the Pope’s “personal library” which is the adult equivalent of the farm your aging first dog was sent to when you were a kid. Last but not least, everyone’s favorite gift: a cheap-looking plastic thermos that people use for mate and that you could get for free during the bicentennial celebrations on the 9 de Julio Avenue four years ago. No, seriously, the thermos she got him is a leftover from the bicentennial celebrations which as I said took place FOUR YEARS AGO.
— Elisabetta Piqué (@bettapique) March 17, 2014
- The thing was so hilarious that the Twitteratti created the hashtag #RegalosParaElPapa (#GiftsForThePope) and boy were they having fun with it.
— Juancho (@infortunato) March 17, 2014
— María José Grillo (@majogrillo) March 17, 2014
— Pablo Viñas (@Pablo_Graf) March 17, 2014
— elcarpo (@elcarpo) March 17, 2014
— Diego Grillo Trubba (@diegogrillotrub) March 17, 2014
— Bernardo Erlich (@berlich) March 17, 2014
— Bernardo Erlich (@berlich) March 17, 2014
- After spending the day with the Pope, Cristina hopped on the presidential plane and headed to Paris, where she was scheduled to meet on Tuesday with French president Francois Hollande, whose last name she can’t pronounce properly for some reason so she just goes goes with calling him “Jolandé” (Ho – lan – day). Seriously, she’s got like a hundred million staffers around her everywhere she goes. Isn’t any of them capable of correcting her? Is she really that terrifying? She makes Julia Louis-Dreyfus’ character in Veep look like a pacifist in comparison. Anyway, on Tuesday she met with Hollande for lunch and they later offered a joint press conference in which, among other things, the French president vowed to do anything in his power to help Argentina finally settle its US$9.5 billion debt with the Paris Club. Which is always great news.
- Of course, she also seized the opportunity to accuse the US and the UK of hypocrisy in the whole Crimea crisis, because she argues they cannot be in favor of a referendum like the one that took place last year in the Malvinas Islands, but be against the one conducted on Crimea recently. However, she made it clear that she stands with the international community on this one and believes Crimea should remain a part of the Ukraine. Just like the Malvinas Islands should belong to Argentina. Which kinda makes sense, except that the sad truth is that in an anarchic international system it’s usually the most powerful who wins.
- Back in Buenos Aires today, she took to Twitter to share her experience with us and also criticized Clarín’s double standards because, why not?
Bueno, el doble standard no es bueno para el derecho internacional, pero para otras cosas tampoco… pic.twitter.com/QtYR7exhA2
— Cristina Kirchner (@CFKArgentina) March 21, 2014
- Meanwhile, in the United States, mayor Mauricio Macri was having dinner with Hillary Clinton because A) She will most likely end up running for president and B) He will most likely end up running for president. Problem is everyone was pretty much “eh” about it.
- Oh, and speaking of the Malvinas Islands, also referred to as the Falklands by the British, The Telegraph had a Q&A session with Malvinas Secretary Daniel Filmus and decided to troll its paleo-conservative audience with the healine “Falkland Islands will be ours“. They should have added a “Har, har!” at the end, just for shits and giggles.
- Meanwhile, in the Buenos Aires province, teachers enter the 13th day of their historic strike, which is keeping over three million public school students away from class. Governor Daniel Scioli is getting desperate and has threatened to give teachers a raise by decree – a salary hike the teachers’ unions reject because they say it’s not enough. Things have gotten so bad that yesterday after both sides once again failed to reach an agreement, Scioli said one of his government officials had been attacked with a brick, which is totally the plot of an episode of House of Cards. Nice try, Machiavellian politicians.
- Oh and also, Uruguay is getting ready to welcome with semi-open arms a bunch of prisoners from Guantanamo because a few bipolar psychos in the US government refuse to have them serve a sentence on US soil. Well, good job guys! They will now be free to roam the green pastures of Uruguay.
- In entertainment news, critically acclaimed animated film “Metegol” (the most expensive Argentine movie ever made) has been acquired by the Weinstein Co. for distribution in the US, were it will be re-titled “Underdogs.” Now, I know that this is a movie about football, and you know that I hate football. But since the point of the movie is to criticize the manic-depressive behavior and the unethical machinations that plague the football industry, I say you go say and become a football-hater like me.
- You may have heard this already, but in case you didn’t: Colombian president Juan Manuel Santos wet his pants while giving a campaign speech this week.
- Sure, “Haha, he wet his pants” and all that. I still think he handled it like a boss. Besides, now that you’re done laughing, you should be aware that it’s because he had to have surgery recently after being diagnosed with prostate cancer. So there, now you can feel like a total asshole.
- Mystery solved! Millions of Argentines around the world were mystified and perhaps somewhat terrified after an enigmatic giant trans-lucid balloon suddenly landed softly on the badlands of Santa Cruz. It was haunting – hypnotic even – and it was carrying circuitry that seemed to have originated in another galaxy. Was this the evidence we needed to finally prove that alien life does exist? Had ET finally realized Argentina’s undeniable exceptionalism and decided to tap us to become their ambassadors, to preach the unspoken tongue of our new extraterrestrial god? Was the media overhyping this whole thing? Was NASA spying on us? Was this Argentina’s very own Roswell?! Maybe. But for a brief period of time we all marveled at the thought of a first contact that was nothing like that horrible Star Trek movie from the 90s. Unfortunately the illusion fell apart like a house of cards after Google, that evil crusher of dreams, decided to point its bony index finger up and say: “Uhm, excuse me, that’s our balloon, yes? You know, from the Project Loon that we told the entire world about last year?” Ah, yes. The Project Loon, that ambitious and malignant plan to provide the entire earth with free Wi-Fi with balloons that look like mutant jellyfish. That is until they become self-aware and engage in a world war with the Facebook drones that Mark Zuckerberg wants to deploy all over the planet for the exact same purpose. Our future couldn’t look more dystopian.
Bon week-end, les enfants!