President Luis Echeverria of Mexico arrived at Buenos Aires airport on Thursday (17 July), at the start of a three week tour of Central and South America.
President Luis Echeverria of Mexico arrived at Buenos Aires airport on Thursday (17 July), at the start of a three week tour of Central and South America. He was met by the new Argentine President, Maria Estela Peron, the widow of General Juan Peron who died two weeks ago.
The Mexican President's arrival came at a time when Senora Peronwas facing an upsurge of political violence in her country. The day before, a former Minister of the Interior had been shot and killed while dining at his favourite restaurant. Three days earlier, gunmen had shot Senor Leandro Salatto, a top aide of the righting Social Welfare Minister, Jose Lopez Rega - the new President's closest confidant.
President Echeverria's tour is reportedly intended to give Mexico a more radical appearance on the South American political stage, while concealing the far more conservative reality underneath. Another major objective for the tour is to develop closer ties with Brazil.
Originally, the President only intended to visit Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia, but since earlier this year when the tour was first announced, three other countries have been added to the itinerary - Argentina, Ecuador and peru. The three additional governments are all of a type to bolster Mexico's flagging image as a radical, nationalist defender of Latin-American interests against the rich industurialised countries of the West, especially the United States.
With the death of Peroin, the visit to Argentina may have lost its edge for the purposes of international diplomacy, though it was expected to provide President Echeverria with a useful insight into the future course of Argentina affairs.