Anger at Argentine president tweets

Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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Embattled Argentine president Cristina Fernandez, while on a state visit to China seeking badly needed investment, caused a furore by joking about her hosts’ accents on Twitter.

She tried to mimic a Chinese accent by switching “r’s” with “l’s” in a tweet in Spanish that translates as: “Did they only come for lice and petloleum.”

A few minutes later, she said: “Sorry, the levels of ridiculousness and absurdity are so high they can only be digested with humor.”

The tweets came as she met Chinese President Xi Jinping.

There was no official response from China about the comments by Ms Fernandez, a prolific tweeter who has 3.53 million followers.

But that did not stop the Twitterverse in the South American country and beyond from exploding with criticism of what many considered a racist tweet.

“Cristina Fernandez’s lack of tack and respect is incredible,” wrote @FaundezLafarga. “She goes to China looking for (economic) agreements and she makes fun of their accents.”

@GuyChazan wrote: “Faux pas in China. Really, this sort of joke went out of fashion in the 70s.”

The latest controversy comes as Ms Fernandez struggles to distance herself from the mysterious death of prosecutor Alberto Nisman.

He was found dead in his bathroom on January 18, hours before he was to elaborate on allegations that Ms Fernandez helped shield Iranians connected to the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community centre that killed 85.

Ms Fernandez has vehemently denied the accusations, saying Argentina had nothing to gain from such a deal.

Earlier this week, as her visit to China was getting under way, investigators looking into Mr Nisman’s death said they had found an arrest warrant for Ms Fernandez that he had written up.

While he never presented it, the revelations brought Ms Fernandez back to the centre of the case.

Yesterday, relatives of victims of the bombing marched with family members of the victims of Argentina’s military dictatorship and other national tragedies to demand an end to impunity and the truth about what happened to Mr Nisman.

Published: Thursday 5th February 2015 by The News Editor

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