Latin American Diplomacy Devolves Into Schoolyard Taunts

By Ryan Dubé

“A lot of it just seems so unnecessary,” says AS/COA's Eric Farnsworth to The Wall Street Journal.

Forget black-tie dinners or summits at picturesque locales. The irascible leaders of some of Latin America’s biggest countries are instead taking a decidedly disdainful approach to diplomatic relations. In a region far from global conflicts, presidents here are instead embroiled in the kind of verbal spats commonly found on schoolyards—a war of words playing out on television and via posts on X.

“Ignoramus,” Argentina’s president, Javier Milei, said last week of his Mexican counterpart, Andrés Manuel López Obrador. “Fascist,” López Obrador shot back. And Venezuela’s government—never apprehensive about issuing put-downs—had caustic words for those criticizing strongman Nicolás Maduro, who last month blocked popular opposition figures from running against him in July’s presidential election.

“Shove your opinions wherever you can fit them,” Foreign Minister Yván Gil said, directing his ire at two normally friendly presidents, Gustavo Petro of Colombia and Brazil’s Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, after they weighed in gingerly against the measure.[...]

After Argentina said it would take diplomatic actions against Venezuela for prohibiting access to its airspace, Venezuela’s foreign minister accused Milei of running a “neo-Nazi government” that was “submissive and obedient to its imperial master,” referring to the U.S.

Argentina, which has become a leading critic of Venezuela’s crackdown on the opposition, brushed off the insults.

“What more can you expect from a donkey besides a kick?” said Argentina’s presidential spokesman, Manuel Adorni.

Eric Farnsworth, a former high-ranking State Department diplomat, is exasperated by what he’s seeing.“A lot of it just seems so unnecessary,” said Farnsworth, vice president of the Council of the Americas policy group in Washington. “What’s the point of this?”...

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