Obama welcomes ‘new beginning’ with Argentina

Obama welcomes ‘new beginning’ with Argentina

BUENOS AIRES – The Associated Press
Obama welcomes ‘new beginning’ with Argentina

AP photo

U.S. President Barack Obama said his trip to Buenos Aires “is a new beginning” between the United States and Argentina, right before surprisingly dancing the tango at a state dinner on March 23.

Toasting his host, Argentina’s newly elected president, Mauricio Macri, at the dinner in Buenos Aires, Obama quoted Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges: “And now, I think that in this country, we have a certain right to hope.”

Obama added a few reflections of his own. “This is a new beginning,” he said.

The U.S. president and first lady Michelle Obama were attending the dinner when they were pulled abruptly onto the dance floor by a pair of tango dancers hired to provide the entertainment.

Initially refusing to join the female dancer on the dance floor for a tango song, Obama then sashayed across the floor, starting to perform his dance moves, as his wife swayed with the companion of a male dancer. 

Hours before the dinner, Obama alongside Macri at a joint press conference championed his Argentinian counterpart as an example for other countries in Latin America, praising the fast pace of reforms to strengthen the economy. 

Obama, on a two-day visit to Argentina that marks a detente after years of tensions, said Argentina under Macri was poised to play a more influential role on the global stage. 

“I can tell you President Macri is a man in a hurry,” Obama was quoted as saying by Reuters. “I’m impressed because he has moved rapidly on so many of the reforms that he promised, to create more sustainable and inclusive economic growth, to reconnect Argentina with the global economy and the world community.”

In his first 100 days in office, Macri has distanced himself from South America’s leftist bloc, old allies of former President Cristina Fernandez, and sought a thaw in relations with Western capitals as he seeks new investment in Latin America’s third-biggest economy.