Adamant: Hardest metal

Argentines swoon over visiting Castro--Rushing crowd delays speech by two hours

The Miami Herald
Posted on Tue, May. 27, 2003
BY DANIEL A. GRECH AND KEVIN G. HALL
dgrech@herald.com

BUENOS AIRES - Thousands of Argentines, desperate to catch a glimpse of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro, broke through security Monday evening at the University of Buenos Aires law school, forcing organizers to postpone Castro's speech by two hours and finally move it to the steps of the law school steps.

People fainted and were trampled in the chaotic confusion. There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries, but authorities decided to evacuate the 3,200-seat hall where the speech was scheduled for security reasons.

DENOUNCED U.S.

In the end, an estimated 15,000 Argentines braved a crisp night breeze to hear Castro, the world's oldest living Communist dictator and archenemy of the United States, deliver a trademark rambling diatribe against his ``neighbor to the north.''

It was Castro's third visit to Argentina, homeland of fellow revolutionary Ernesto ''Che'' Guevara, and the first to the capital since 1959.

Castro, wearing a dark suit, was clearly impressed by the crowd spread below him waving Che banners and Cuban flags. As he took the podium at 9 p.m., Castro referred to the earlier chaos as ``an earthquake, a tidal wave, a hurricane.''

''This seems like the Plaza of the Revolution,'' Castro remarked, referring to the central square for political demonstrations in Havana. ``The organizers are guilty of underestimating the Argentine people.''

In a massive show of anti-American sentiment, the crowd chanted Bush es terrorista,'' along with the traditionalViva Cuba'' and ``Olé Castro.''

Castro arrived in Buenos Aires Saturday for the inauguration of Argentine President Néstor Kirchner. Kirchner, a center-left politician, has called for greater ties among nations in Latin America, and he has vowed to defend jobs and industry in Argentina, which has suffered through five years of recession. Half of Argentina's 36.2 million population is at or below the poverty line.

Castro has been cheered throughout his visit, including during a meeting Monday with the new president at the Casa Rosada (Pink House), the executive office of the Argentine president.

''This is a historic moment,'' exulted Martin Tavaut, a 27-year-old lawyer, as he tried to push into the conference hall for Castro's speech. ``He is our response to the disdain we feel for the United States as a force in Latin America.''

''You want to know what we think of Fidel here?'' asked schoolteacher Graciela Dominguez, 53. ``Just take a look at this crowd.''

Castro stayed at the Four Seasons hotel with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. The two were greeted at the hotel by a large group of supporters.

GOOD TIMING

Castro has been a constant critic of U.S.-backed free market policies that were heartily adopted by Argentina in the 1990s. But with election of a center-left Argentine president emphasizing social justice, Castro felt the time was right to address Argentina. Although the United States has tried to isolate Cuba in Latin America, elections of left-leaning presidents in Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina have won Castro political support he has not enjoyed for a decade.

RECENT CRACKDOWN

Last month, Argentina abstained on a United Nations resolution condemning the Castro government for its recent execution of three hijackers and imprisonment of 75 dissidents.

The move was a reversal of previous Argentine votes against Cuba's human rights record, which prompted Castro to once taunt that Argentina was ``licking Yankee boots.''

Monday's chaos began more than an hour before Castro's speech, originally set for 7 p.m. in the school's main conference hall, when hundreds of Argentines pressed through the room's main entrances.

Students waving Cuban flags climbed onto rafters and grandmothers wearing revolutionary colors climbed onto the hall's red plush chairs before Cuban exterior minister Felipe Pérez Roque thanked the crowd for its ''militant solidarity with revolutionary Cuba'' and asked people to move outside.

''Fidel will not leave Argentina without making his speech,'' Pérez Roque promised.

Argentina's Kirchner Meets With Regional Leaders

VOA News
26 May 2003, 22:00 UTC

New Argentine President Nestor Kirchner has met with several regional leaders, pledging to "work with everyone" to help his country overcome its severe financial crisis.

Mr. Kirchner made the promise Monday in Buenos Aires, where he spent his first full day in office meeting with the presidents of Bolivia, Cuba, Colombia, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.

The presidents were among several regional leaders who attended Mr. Kirchner's swearing-in ceremony on Sunday. Mr. Kirchner is Argentina's sixth president since political turmoil led to the resignation of Fernando de la Rua in late 2001.

In his inaugural address, the new Argentine leader said the country must be opened to the world. He pledged to work for conditions where Argentina can create what he called a credible and serious economy.

Mr. Kirchner also called on international markets to be patient as he works to help the economy recover from the crisis that triggered widespread unemployment and social unrest.

Argentina has defaulted on $141 billion in public debt. President Kirchner says his administration will renegotiate the debt, but warned the country cannot pay back what it owes lenders at the expense of those in need of houses, schools, and health care. Mr. Kirchner also says the priority of his new foreign policy is building a politically stable and prosperous Latin America with democracy and social justice as its foundations.

New Argentine leader praised from abroad

UPI
From the International Desk
Published 5/26/2003 8:09 PM

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, May 26 (UPI) -- Argentina´s new president received Monday widespread support from numerous Latin American leaders who also expressed a common interest in uniting the continent´s efforts to improve its collective economic outlook.

Nestor Kirchner, who assumed office Sunday, meet with leaders in the presidential residence Casa Rosada where he heard a consensus of optimism from leaders of all walks, including Cuba´s Fidel Castro, with whom the Argentine president spoke for an hour.

Other visitors included Colombian President Alvaro Uribe, Uruguay´s Jorge Batlle, Bolvian leader Gonzalo Sanchez de Losada and Peruvian President Alexander Toledo. Also on hand was U.S. envoy Mel Martínez, whose visit was characterized by one Argentine official as "satisfactory, mature and balanced."

Kirchner is expected to visit Washington within the next three months, according to the official.

Perhaps the most loquacious of the visiting leaders was Venezuela´s Hugo Chavez, who stressed his optimism for a center-left Kirchner administration that has pledged to bring jobs to the embattled nation suffering from the ill-effects of its December 2001 political and economic meltdown.

Chavez called for Argentina to embrace his vision for "united Latin American countries, especially those with a burdensome external debts," obviously referring to the $141 billion of foreign debt that Argentina defaulted on soon after its 2001 collapse, prompting then-President Fernando de la Rua to resign, as well as four caretaker presidents in a week´s time.

Uruguay´s Batlle said he discussed with Kirchner the two nation´s common interests and attempted to stem talk that there was persistent ill-will emanating from Uruguay due to Argentina´s economic collapse. Last year, Batlle accused Argentina´s leadership of sinking his country´s economy, a comment for which he later apologized. He said that the nation´s would work to improve regional ties, especially in regard to trade and the Mercosur Trade Bloc, of which both are members.

Calling his meeting with Kirchner "very productive" Peru's Toledo took the opportunity to call for "new mechanisms for financing investment in social areas" throughout the region, which is plagued by pervasive economic divides.

"If we are not able to produce those mechanisms, the governability of the region is in danger," said Toledo.

The kudos for Kirchner bodes well for his fledgling administration´s foreign relations, though his greatest challenge remains the daunting task of wrenching his embattled nation from an economic abyss. An estimated 60 percent of Argentina´s 36 million live in poverty.

On Sunday following his inauguration, the new Argentine president attempted to quell doubts about Argentina´s future and assured the nation´s citizenry that "we know where we are going and where we don't want to return."

Copyright © 2001-2003 United Press International

Castro's popularity resurges

.nzoom.com. Thousands of Argentine supporters of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro broke through security on Monday, creating pandemonium and forcing authorities to cancel Castro's first speech in Argentina.

The University of Buenos Aires Law School was slated to host Castro's speech in the homeland of fellow revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevarra.

Supporters of Castro overran security to overflow an auditorium beyond double its 3,200-seat capacity.

Castro is in Argentina to participate in the inauguration of President Nester Kirchner, the country's sixth president in 18 months. Kirchner, a centre-left politician, has called for greater ties among nations in Latin America, and he has vowed to defend jobs and industry in Argentina, which has suffered through five years of recession.

Half of Argentina's 36.2 million population is at or below the poverty line.

Castro twice has visited Argentina since seizing power in Cuba in 1959, but thiswas to be his first address to the nation and a rare one for the Cuban leader.

Castro was a frequent critic of US-backed free market policies that were heartily adopted by Argentina in the 1990s. But with election of a centre-left Argentine president emphasising social justice, Castro felt the time was right to address Argentina.

Although the United States has tried to isolate Cuba in Latin America, elections of left-leaning presidents in Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina have won Castro political support he has not enjoyed for a decade.

Source: AAP

Castro speech canceled in Argentina

Posted on Mon, May. 26, 2003
By Kevin G. Hall
Knight Ridder Newspapers

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Thousands of Argentine supporters of Cuban dictator Fidel Castro broke through security Monday night, creating pandemonium and forcing authorities to cancel Castro's first speech in Argentina.

The University of Buenos Aires Law School was slated to host Castro's speech in the homeland of fellow revolutionary Ernesto "Che" Guevarra. Authorities late Monday were trying to arrange for Castro to address the country via a televised broadcast.

Supporters of Castro overran security to overflow an auditorium beyond double its 3,200-seat capacity. People fainted and were trampled in the chaotic confusion. There were no reports of deaths or serious injuries, but authorities decided to evacuate the hall and cancel the speech for security reasons.

Castro is in Argentina to participate the inauguration of President Nester Kirchner, the country's sixth president in 18 months, who was sworn in on Sunday. Kirchner, a center-left politician, has called for greater ties among nations in Latin America, and he has vowed to defend jobs and industry in Argentina, which has suffered through five years of recession. Half of Argentina's 36.2 million population is at or below the poverty line.

Castro twice has visited Argentina since seizing power in Cuba in 1959, but this was to be his first address to the nation and a rare one for the Cuban leader.

Castor has been cheered throughout his visit, including during a meeting Monday with the new president at the Casa Rosada (Pink House), the executive office of the Argentine president. As he left the meeting, he was greeted with shouts of "Viva Fidel!" and "We're with Cuba!"

Castro was a frequent critic of U.S.-backed free market policies that were heartily adopted by Argentina in the 1990s. But with election of a center-left Argentine president emphasizing social justice, Castro felt the time was right to address Argentina.

Average Argentines greeted Castro like a rock star. "Utopia never dies, " said Nora Alvarez, a photographer who arrived to the Plaza de Mayo without her camera to see Castro.

Although the United States has tried to isolate Cuba in Latin America, elections of left-leaning presidents in Brazil, Venezuela, Peru, Chile, Ecuador and Argentina have won Castro political support he has not enjoyed for a decade.

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