Monday, March 18, 2013

Global Impact: Argentine President Fernández Asks Pope Francis to Intervene in the Falklands Controversy, A Bad Move on Her Part

According to Reuters, Argentine President Cristina Fernández asked newly elected Pope Francis to intervene in support of Buenos Aires in a dispute with London over the Falkland Islands controversy.

COMMENT: Neither the timing or venue on the part of President Fernández was appropriate or diplomatic, particularly considering that she brought up the matter to His Holiness upon her arrival in Rome to attend the Pope's  inaugural papal mass.

Surely she could have waited for a more appropriate and discreet time to bring up such a controversially-charged issue, knowing that it would cause the new Pontiff to be very conflicted, given the fact that he is an Argentine.

Most heads of state would have enough respect for the office of the new Pope to not bring politics into the mix and place Pope Francis in a very awkward position.  

Fortunately, a Vatican spokesman said he would make no comment on Fernández's remarks on Monday, but the Holy See may be understandably annoyed by an attempt so early in the Papacy to draw Francis into a political dispute - which popes traditionally avoid.

The left-leaning Fernández, and her late husband and predecessor as president, Nestor Kirchner have had a frosty relationship with Bergoglio, whom they have accused of taking sides with the opposition against them.

Some analysts say that Bergoglio's surprise election as pope last week at a conclave where he was not even mentioned among the favorites, had wrong-footed Fernández, who would now want to patch up ties with the Roman Catholic Church before the mid-term elections in October.