In the next few hours, the administration of President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner will have to resolve a key political issue, which is set to have influence over the final outcome of the XX Ibero-American Summit: the Argentine government is to decide whether to accept the regional pressure urging it to issue a communiqué criticizing the Obama administration over WikiLeaks documents; or to support a more conservative stand and wait for an official reply from the American President or US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez, Bolivia's Evo Morales, Ecuador's Rafael Correa and his Nicaraguan counterpart Daniel Ortega are part of the first group that seek to take the opportunity to blast US and its failed intelligence reports. Meanwhile, Sebastián Piñera (Chile), Alan García (Perú), Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Brazil) and Felipe Calderón (Mexico) constitute the conservative sector and believe this is not the right moment to blast the Obama administration, even though they deem the leakage of documents released by online whistle-blower WikiLeaks 'a reprehensible attitude'. Argentina' stand promotes a "middle ground." Until yesterday, President Cristina de Kirchner, Cabinet Chief Aníbal Fernández and Foreign Affairs Minister Hector Timerman agreed that it was not convenient to file a protest, and considered that it was advisable to wait for an official reply from the American government. Also, the Argentine government expects Obama or Clinton to contact Cristina de Kirchner.
The official expectations focused on an eventual reply from Washington DC before the beginning of the XX Ibero-American Summit, which opens tomorrow in Mar del Plata. Rumour had it that the Obama administration fears heads of states attending the annual forum would blast US over WikiLeaks disclosures.
Argentina would have a lot to gain from its careful position, because the administration of Fernández de Kirchner will need Obama's support in April, when the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) is likely to charge against Argentina over its reluctance to comply with the Article IV consultations.
Besides the international scandal over the secret documents disclosed by WikiLeaks, the XX Ibero-American Summit is to debate other issues. Following an Argentine initiative, the forum's motto is 'Education for Social Inclusion.' The XX Ibero-American Summit is the most important event of the year for the Argentine government, which seeks to include the annual forum within the Bicentennial celebrations.
Leaders from nineteen Latin-American countries, as well as Spain, Portugal and Andorra, and associated observers from Italy, Morocco, France and Netherlands are to attend the Summit.
President Cristina Fernández is set to lead the opening ceremony tomorrow morning in the seaside town.
Just like the 2005 Summit of the Americas -which was also held in Mar del Plata- the United States is at the centre of the controversy.
.......Interesting, isn't it?