Alwaght- An Argentinean journalist has aptly captured the mood of his countrymen on the controversial visit by the United States President to the country by saying, “We, Argentines, love to hate the United States". Gustavo Sierra, a journalist at the local newspaper Clarin, certainly represents the views of most Argentineans who turned in large numbers to protest the visit by President Barack Obama to the Latin American nation.
The visit is controversial because it comes on the 40th anniversary of the March 24, 1976, military coup that the US initially supported, and resentment is widespread across the country especially relatives of tens of thousands of people who disappeared or were killed under military dictatorship.
Argentine Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Pérez Esquivel wrote in an open letter that Obama would not be welcome on Thursday's anniversary because the US “has been and is behind all the destabilization attempts on popular governments of our continent.”
Thousands of people have protests at the anniversary in the iconic Plaza de Mayo with banners that say "Memory Day, Obama Get Out!”
Demonstrators, including human rights groups and leftists, marched in the capital Buenos Aires on Wednesday, expressing their anger at Washington’s support for the 1976 coup.
“It’s a march against Obama’s visit; also against the Argentine government, who received him with honors,” said Alejandro Bodart, director of the Workers Socialist Movement.
“The left are mobilizing against Obama because it is a slap in the face that on the 40th anniversary of the coup the head of North American imperialism, which supported the coup at the time, arrives,” he added.
Obama's state visit to Buenos Aires came after the elections of President Mauricio Macri, who in December replaced Cristina Fernandez, long a thorn in Obama's side.
Obama has made no secret of his preference for Macri over the left-leaning Fernandez, whose stances against the US hegemonic policies became a source of frequent tensions with the White House. Fernandez was close with Hugo Chavez, Venezuela's famously anti-American late president, and openly admired Cuban revolutionary leader Fidel Castro. She blamed the US for Argentina's problems.