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Argentina's president offers Putin a 'gateway to Latin America'

"I'm certain Argentina has to stop being so dependent on the Fund and the United States and has to open up to other places, and that is where it seems to me that Russia has a very important place," Fernandez told Putin

Fernandez and Putin speak at the Kremlin
Fernández y Putin hablan en el Kremlin | Kremlin

February 3, 2022 8:39pm

Updated: February 3, 2022 11:31pm

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin on Thursday, marking the first leg of a diplomatic tour that comes in the wake of a breakthrough in debt talks with the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

Last week, Argentina agreed with the IMF on a new $44.5 billion deal – a breakthrough in ongoing talks to restructure loans that the Southern Cone country has been unable to pay.

But upon landing in Moscow, Fernandez -- who is struggling to revive his country's economy and replenish dwindling foreign currency reserves -- was quick to tell Putin that Argentina must abandon its economic “dependence” on the United States and the IMF and that Russia could help reshape the regional power dynamics. 

"I'm certain Argentina has to stop being so dependent on the Fund and the United States and has to open up to other places, and that is where it seems to me that Russia has a very important place," Fernandez told Putin.

Fernandez also played into Putin’s Latin America ambitions and promised the leader that the “environment is very favorable” for Argentina to be the Kremlin’s “gateway to Latin America.”

The Peronist leader’s words come just days after Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov told the Duma that Russia will strengthen its strategic cooperation with Cuba, Venezuela, and Nicaragua “in all spheres,” and the Kremlin threatened to place troops in the Western Hemisphere should tensions over Ukraine not diminish.

"We have very close relations and strategic cooperation in all spheres: in terms of economy, culture, education, and military-technical cooperation," the head of Russian diplomacy said.

Fernandez is expected to meet with Putin again next week at the opening of the Winter Olympics in Beijing. He will meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Sunday.