Photo via Tico Times

Yesterday, US President Barack Obama gave an interview to CNN Español in which he talked about US relations with Latin America. Let’s look at what he had to say about Argentina, which consisted basically of criticizing former President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner and showing optimism for US-Argentine bilateral relations under President Mauricio Macri.

“I think Argentina’s a good example of the shift that’s taken place in terms of US relations with other governments and countries in general,” was Obama’s opening comment.

“I saw President Fernández frequently at the G-20 or similar events. We had a cordial relationship but with respect to her politics she was always anti-American [with a] rhetoric that probably dates from the 1960s or 1970s and not from reality,” he continued.

Bilateral relations between Argentina and the US have always been intense, either in a positive or a negative sense, often swinging between love and hate according to administration changes. The current ambassador to the US, Martín Lousteau, has described it as a “teenage relationship,” and said that it’s time for it to become an “adult one.”

Regarding Macri, Obama had a more optimistic point of view:

“I think Macri recognizes that we are in a new era, that we must look forward and that Argentina was historically a very powerful country [which] has weakened its relative position in part by not having adapted to the global economy as effectively as it could,” said the US President.

He went on to say that he believed that Macri’s objective was to “give Argentina the type of openness, transparency, competition and progress that will allow incredibly talented people with wonderful natural resources to prosper in a way that has not happened for a long time.”

Sounds like the pair have a lot to talk about. Obama will be visiting the country next week, just in time for the significant day of March 24th, the National Day of Remembrance for Truth and Justice commemorating those who lost their lives during the last military dictatorship (1976-1983). This year marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup.

During the Cold War and the widespread proxy wars that were fought in its wake, the US provided strategic support to military juntas in Argentina, Chile, Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and Bolivia under the Central Intelligence Agency’s Operation Condor. So many people are between slightly uncomfortable and irate regarding the political timing of Obama’s visit.