US Ambassador to Argentina Noah Mamet participated in a talk with students at the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Argentina on Thursday. The talk was hosted by the Director of Graduate Political and Institutional Communication, Pablo Perez Paladino, and moderated by the President of the University Foundation of Rio de la Plata, Luis Rosales. Mamet answered questions posed by students about the social and economic realities of Argentina, the corruption scandals surrounding the era of Kirchnerism and the upcoming United States presidential elections.
Here are some highlights from Mamet’s conversation with UCA students, as reported by Infobae:
- “There are a lot of ‘isms’ in this country. Peronism, Kirchnerism… I do not know if I really like this, because it is very ideological rather than practical. What I like about this government is that they are practical.”
- On Macri’s government: “I know President Macri and his cabinet are honest, they are very intelligent, and they are trying to do the right thing. They inherited a very difficult situation.” He also compared the current situation in Argentina to that of the US when “Clinton or Obama came into office.”
- While Mamet acknowledged that both Messi and the Pope have placed Argentina on the map, he said that there are other ways for Argentina to become a world power: “Increasing the GDP and trade and revitalizing the economy will take time. It doesn’t happen overnight.”
- He said it takes, “time for people to feel the positive effect of change,” again comparing Argentina’s current situation to that of the US when Clinton or Obama came into power; Clinton “changed the direction of the economy” but it took two or three years. By the end of Obama’s first term, people had the confidence to reelect him.
- Mamet also addressed the need to shift the focus of popular dialogue away from the past. “The great attraction in Buenos Aires is the cemetery. Which is about the past! I go to dinner parties and the conversation is about the definition of Peronism. I say we talk about electric cars, renewable energy, nanotechnology.”
- On how Donald Trump is a proponent of radical change: “Every day when I see a statement he makes, I think I cannot believe a presidential candidate is saying that.”
- On Trump’s foreign policy: “I have no idea what Trump’s foreign policy is.” Mamet’s not alone in his sentiments about Trump. Foreign Minister Susana Malcorra has previously urged the US to be cautious about the presidential candidate in view of his extremely polarizing views about Latin America on the whole.
- “Do not trust the government, do not depend on government. The government can not provide all the answers. You have to create for yourself.”
- Asked about the US’s role in a possible dialogue with Britain over the sovereignty of the Malvinas Islands, Mamet said, “I do not know if the US has to play a role at all… I know the Malvinas issue is a sensitive issue, but it can not be the only issue.”