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Argentina, US in Unprecedented Standoff

February 15th, 2011 | Categoría: Politics

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Argentine officials forcing open a U.S. suitcase

Relations between Argentina and the U.S. plummeted to their lowest level in years after Argentina’s government confiscated U.S. property brought into the country last week aboard a U.S. Air Force cargo plane.

The C-17 Globemaster III plane arrived with support for a previously scheduled crisis management and hostage rescue course that was to be offered to local police.

As I reported in The Wall Street Journal:

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Arturo Valenzuela, called on Argentina to return the property without delay.

“It’s absolutely necessary that they immediately return that material. It makes no sense for it to have been confiscated this way. This material was intended for a joint exercise in training people to rescue hostages,” Mr. Valenzuela Monday said on CNN en Español.

Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman quickly rebutted Mr. Valenzuela and called on the U.S. to apologize for violating Argentine law.

Mr. Timerman accused the U.S. of using the plane to smuggle undeclared firearms, surveillance equipment and “various doses of morphine” into the country for ulterior motives.

You can read the full article here.

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38 Comments

[...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Taos Turner, disenoboston. disenoboston said: RT @taos: Argentina, US in Unprecedented Standoff: http://tinyurl.com/4jmfofl [...]

CNo Gravatar says:

Crazy .. what idiotic blunder are they going to make next ? Will Christina invade Bloomingdales ? Time to consider alternative spots for living ..

HernanNo Gravatar says:

This news makes me feel sad and uncomfortable as well…

haroldoNo Gravatar says:

I’ve been watching this situation from the start. Sadly the damage has been done no matter what the outcome.

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

Taking media coverage aside, it would be great to see what happened if somebody from the Argentinean government tried to do the same in the US.

The laws are the same for everyone. I don’t the way it was handled nor the comments from Argentinean officials, but I’m 100% agree with the confiscation. Argentina only confiscated the stuff that wasn’t in the manifest the US Embassy in Argentina delivered to Aduana and just for the record, it wasn’t teddy bears or candies.

It doesn’t matter if they were invited to do a training exercise, foreigners must declare everything. US should know it best, they gate rape everyone that tries to enter US (in they refuse to do x-ray scan).

taosNo Gravatar says:

Actually, just so you know, among the things confiscated is candy. The Argentine government also confiscated folding chairs, office supplies and coolers used to store things like Gatorade. Laws definitely should be followed by all. Argentina’s foreign minister says the U.S. tried to smuggle things in illegally, but U.S. officials say this is not the case. What makes you believe Timerman instead of the U.S. State Department? Just curious.

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

I know you can read spanish, so read this:

http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/subnotas/162448-52018-2011-02-16.html
Quote:[
Según consta en la declaración de Roveda –a la que tuvo acceso exclusivo este diario–, los norteamericanos pretendieron pasar como efectos personales cajones que contenían, por ejemplo, caños y cañones que se colocan en armas, elementos de combate, GPS, medicamentos en un cajón inmenso, con buena parte de ellos vencidos, y un maletín verde –declarado como secreto– que incluía elementos de comunicaciones. “No se trataba de efectos personales –declaró Roveda– y ni siquiera estaban identificados a qué integrante de la tripulación correspondían.]

And you are (suspiciously) omitting this is no the first time it happens.

http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-162267-2011-02-13.html
Quote:
[El nuevo curso, de cinco semanas, estaba programado para agosto de 2010, pero debió postergarse por un episodio similar. En aquel momento fue la embajadora Vilma Martínez la que se negó a recibir el cargamento porque la numeración de las armas no coincidía con la del listado previo, lo cual muestra los conflictos que esta práctica produce dentro del propio gobierno estadounidense. “Esto es una vergüenza”, dijo entonces Martínez, antes de devolver la carga a North Carolina]

The point are not the folding chairs, candies or air conditioners (and you are not mention the guns and ammo).

I don’t trust no one, but I don’t care who has the bigger gun, here it’s clear: You cannot enter nothing that’s not included in the manifest.
It’s very easy:
Is this candy was included in the manifest?
Yes -> No problem.
No -> Sorry, can’t enter that.

Are these drugs included in the manifest?
Yes -> No problem.
No -> Sorry, can’t enter that.

It’s the law, take or leave it. And if we talk about about honesty and truth, nothing is more opposite to those concepts than the US State Department.

pablo says:

‘It’s the law, take or leave it.’

Since when are the Kirchners so concerned with enforcing the law when they are the first to break it..

‘And if we talk about about honesty and truth, nothing is more opposite to those concepts than the US State Department.’

Yes, because the Argentine Government never lies.. They are sooo honest and sincere.. And Cristina is the reincarnation of Madre Teresa de Calcuta.. Are you serious, Marcos? Think a little, just a little :-)

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-162671-2011-02-19.html

haroldoNo Gravatar says:

Timerman is the luis d’elia of foreign relations. I can’t believe his ignorance on what he thought that he found on this plane. CFK should distance herslf from this guy too.

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

As I said before, I don’t like the way all this was handled, but we cannot deny the cargo wasn’t clearly declared and was the cause of all these.

I don’t know what US people expects? Something like this perhaps? :

US Soldier: This is my luggage
Arg Aduana man: But you have ammo, drugs and guns. Do you have a manifest for this stuff or some kind of authorization?
US Soldier: No, I don’t, but I’m an elite US Soldier and I’m here because you don’t know how to fire a gun.
Arg Aduana man: Sorry Sir, you cannot enter this stuff to Argentina due Aduana regulations:
US Soldier: What? Don’t you realize I’m a US elite Soldier? I am above you laws and everybody laws.
Arg Aduana man: Sorry Sir, It won’t happen again.

JGNo Gravatar says:

Argentina is like a country run by children!

Keep getting the truth out there Taos. Argentine media seem to be weak, cash taking pawns.

I used to join those drills while working in the States.
Just for the whole bunch of people working with drug addicts, mental diseases patients and every body even the secretaries of the psychiatric ward had to take those drills.
They had to train us on personal defense, on emergency situations, on how to work as a team to confront a totally irrational patient, submerged in drugs and alcohol….
Those crazy irrational people were considered time bombs, and lock rooms maintained for them until back to normalcy.
Happens to be that a bunch of people right now are walking in the same conditions , freely….no wonder people get kill for a pair of tennis shoes or candy.
Sad true is that we have missed for our police and officials of the order and law, a remarkable trainning that could had saved lifes.
The medication, those numbered bottles are part of the training, to teach the people the side effects and what the crooks are using right now.
It is a pitty that MR. Twitterman missed the whole point of the trainning.
I just wondered where He learnt diplomacy….probably in academias Pittman….

HaroldoNo Gravatar says:

By Marcos: “I don’t know what US people expects? Something like this perhaps?
US Soldier: This is my luggage
Arg Aduana man: But you have ammo, drugs and guns. Do you have a manifest for this stuff or some kind of authorization?
US Soldier: No, I don’t, but I’m an elite US Soldier and I’m here because you don’t know how to fire a gun.
Arg Aduana man: Sorry Sir, you cannot enter this stuff to Argentina due Aduana regulations:
US Soldier: What? Don’t you realize I’m a US elite Soldier? I am above you laws and everybody laws.
Arg Aduana man: Sorry Sir, It won’t happen again.”
…..Marcos,..we all know this your secret fantasy. How about some reality?
.Marcos, this is your fantasy . How about some reality?

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

Reality is there.
If you don’t like to send apologies, follow the rules.

Just yesterday I realized that Taos was the writer in the WSJ. What a pitty. I dislike journalists in general simple because they don’t cover all the angles. not mentioning this is not the first time it happens a serious mistake for example.: there was candy but omitting the lethal stuff (ammo, guns) it serious too, and just for the record, for me
this is as simple as a med kit + some guns + some old drugs + comm devices and yes, candy.

Do I feel shame because the way it was handled? As Argentine, yes.
Do we have the right to retain what it’s illegal? Yes.
Did the US make a mistake? It’s clear.
Do we have the right to ask how this thing happened? For sure, US needs to do a declaration first.

It was very funny (not a surprise although) read the comments in the WSJ article. US commenter saying “booo, don’t help Argentine anymore”, “stop the aid” said others.
I don’t know what they are thinking. This is not Haiti after an earthquake begging for food (we are like Haiti in many other things, but that’s another story). It was training and just for the record, is one of the thousands of ways the US Army has to sell weapons. Is not charity.

taosNo Gravatar says:

Hi Marcos,

Thanks for your comments.

Some of your facts are wrong and I’d like to try and counter some of your thoughts that are also mistaken.

First, you accused me of “suspiciously” not mentioning the previous airport event. This is patently false. Like a good journalist, you need to carefully investigate your facts before writing about them.

Did you even carefully read my article for the WSJ? My guess is that you did not. If you had, you would have seen that I did in fact mention this, very specifically. Here is the exact paragraph:

“The U.S. provided a similar training course in August 2009 and tried to repeat it in August 2010. At the time, the Air Force sent another flight to Argentina to prepare for the course, but the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires sent it back to the U.S. after discovering that its contents did not match what was ordered for the course.”

You will find this in the article, here:

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703584804576144450144733380.html?KEYWORDS=argentina

Second, you say you dislike journalists in general “because they don’t cover all the angles”. Making blanket generalizations like this akin to prejudiced people who make generalizations about people, nations and ethnic groups. It’s as unfair as my saying something like,” I don’t like Argentines in general because they lie and steal and cheat.” Would that be fair? Of course not.

It’s fine for you to dislike bad journalism (I dislike it too!), but why throw all journalists into the same category? Like other commentators have said here, it would be wise for you (for everyone, including me) to read a broad range of newspapers and not just government-backed media like Pagina 12, which often publishes biased, poorly-reported articles on politics. Pagina 12 does have some very good journalists, but in some cases its political articles are hack jobs intended to make a certain point, not to simply report the facts as fairly as possible.

For my article, as with all of the articles I write, I speak with all involved parties, organizations and people. In this case, I spoke to multiple Argentine and U.S. sources and tried to fairly, and accurately, report their positions. If there is something precise about this article that you think was unfairly reported, then please do feel free to specific why you think this is the case. But first, please be careful to read the article carefully, and in its entirety beforehand.

As far as I can tell, after interviewing both Argentine and U.S. officials, and having looked at evidence from both sides, it does not appear that the U.S. government tried to smuggle material into Argentina. Indeed, the U.S. went to good length to get prior approval, and did receive prior approval, to bring the property into Argentina. Lower-ranking Argentine authorities have confirmed this.

As far as I am aware, there are no weapons that the U.S. tried to enter into Argentina without previous authorization. Officials at two Argentine organizations have confirmed this off the record.

There is debate about some of the accessories, which Argentines have called “cañones,” that Argentine authorities say were not declared. But as far as I know, these cañones, or basically barrels, were indeed discussed with – and approved by – Argentine officials beforehand. These too were part of the training course. Again, these were accessories to declared weapons, not weapons themselves. Argentine authorities said it was not necessary to declare these – kind of in the same way that it’s not necessary to separately declare power cords for new computers. In any case, U.S. officials had mentioned these to Argentine officials while they were planning the trip and had been told that it was not necessary to declare these accessories separately.

As for the morphine, the U.S. government has provided an explanation for this which seems credible and, even to lower ranking Argentine officials, innocuous. What other plausible reason would the U.S. have for bringing a tiny amount of morphine into the country other than that it actually was part of a medical kit? (This is a question that an Argentine official asked me rhetorically.)

Whatever the case, these training courses have been offered for years in many countries around the world. They have been offered repeatedly in neighboring countries within Mercosur. Meanwhile, local law enforcement officials here in Argentina have said off the record that the course are professional and helpful.

Here is what the U.S. State Department said about the situation:

http://bit.ly/gpDNg2

Thanks again for your comments, Marcos. I appreciate your taking the time to write and I hope this helps a bit to clarify things.

Saludos!
Taos

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

Hi Taos. sorry for the delay. Your dedications to answer my reply deserves all my respect.
I will start saying you are absolutely right, I shouldn’t put all journalist in the same bag as I did. I don’t think you are bad journalist also, but something you wrote cause my anger:

What makes you believe Timerman instead of the U.S. State Department?

This kind of haughtiness makes me sick. If instead of saying that you could answer me with the very same arguments you did later (checking multiple sources, accurately).

All this stuff is history.
Best Regards,
Marcos

HernanNo Gravatar says:

I don’t think it was the first time this happened… a few years ago Argentina made the United States Air Force return home…

About the reporting this issue, the link to Pagina 12 as well as Taos report on The Wall Street Journal made me question the objectivity when reporting this issues from both sides.
In my opinion, what is embarrassing was not that they confiscated the unreported guns and medicine. (or candy)… I think the fact that they made it public and they called “Defending the soberania” was an exaggeration from the Argentine side… and it did sound as a left winged speech… that’s all

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

100% Agree.

The problem is that the opposition + US is trying to rest credibility in this matter because the way it was handled, they don’t care if were candies or thermonuclear weapons it’s all the same for them. An interesting exercise is taking an Argentine soldier invited by the US with drugs and weapons discovered in La Guardia. What would be the repercussion here and in the US? Guantanamo comes to my mind…

We need to read as many newspapers as we can and then try to get our conclusion.

HaroldoNo Gravatar says:

The problem is that Timerman is trying to make something out of nothing. His agenda is purely political in nature.
We– ALL– need to read as many newspapers as we can and then try to get our conclusion.

MatiasNo Gravatar says:

Im agree with the argentine government, united states did this before, trying to get in things without permission, the same thing happends a year ago, and now again? people saids that argentina is like a country run by kids, why dont you look your own government, thas makes war without proofs and kill and kill innocent people, why dont you look your country that the only things they care is to take the control of latinamerica and arabian region, your country say thats for ensure the security, what a crap of lies, nobody in the entire world believes in the united states government and if you dont believe me ask to the others countries what they think about you, all the countries call you murders, you want peace?? then stop making fake wars and killing innocent people and you’ll see peace

pablo says:

Yes, without a doubt the US has fought many wars.. Be grateful that they have or otherwise the entire world would be living under communist rule.. Of course, it’s much easier to stay comfortable at home playing the ‘peaceful hippie’ and spouting anti-american venom while the US sacrifices its own people so you can have freedom..
Anyway, nice attempt at US bashing, only shows your lack of arguments to defend your own government..

MatiasNo Gravatar says:

okay now i realized that you are a stupid fool, do you think about what aer you saying?? do you really know why EEUU needs to protect from the arabian countries?? or you are so fool to think that the evil one are they?? EEUU invaded and KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE, first of all you should take a diccionary for realize what terrorism means and you will realize then that your country wants to attack terrorism with terrorism, fire vs fire makes more fire, and you should to take a book of history to know why the arabian countries wants to attack to EEUU, united states sacrifices their own people because they kill people from others countries and this is the result, if EEUU stop to kill or trying to invaded and control the others countries then you will see that unite states will not have any attack from them

okay now i realized that you are a stupid fool, do you think about what aer you saying?? do you really know why EEUU needs to protect from the arabian countries?? or you are so fool to think that the evil one are they?? EEUU invaded and KILL INNOCENT PEOPLE, first of all you should take a diccionary for realize what terrorism means and you will realize then that your country wants to attack terrorism with terrorism, fire vs fire makes more fire, and you should to take a book of history to know why the arabian countries wants to attack to EEUU, united states sacrifices their own people because they kill people from others countries and this is the result, if EEUU stop to kill or trying to invaded and control the others countries then you will see that unite states will not have any attack

pablo says:

Who said anything about terrorism or the ‘arabian countries’? Nice strategy.. throw around any unrelated garbage when you have no arguments in rebuttal.. Face it, you have nothing valuable to contribute to this thread.. Your anti-american drivel and insults, far from making the Argentine goverment look better on the issue at hand, are making you look like an idiot instead.. I could teach you a lot about history, but wasting time on people so brainwashed and bigoted like yourself can only be an exercise in futility.. By the way, I’m not American.. And I don’t think I need to be either to realize the lying corrupt thugs that your government are..

Anonymous says:

When in 2001 a US caza hit and crashed a chinese plain in China’s air space while flyng through it with no permission and killed a chinese pilot they did not want to apologyze either. China kept 24 americans soldiers hostage and confiscated the plain.

The US did not want to apologyze. Long diplomacy dispute.

As Marco said: If you do not want to apologyze follow then rules of the country you are in. Pretty basic.

It seams that not only they feel they should not follow other countries policies but also we should lick their boots.

The logic of the master the logic of the power.

Pogi says:

Get your facts straight. The EEUU areonave was in international airspace and the Chinese aircraft was flying to close. It was the Chinese fighter aircraft that hit the EEUU patrol plane and it emergency landed on the Chinese airfield. Did the EEUU plane have weapon? No. Internationa airspce? Si.

Anonymous says:

Well.. Amercicans that see Comunism in everything that points a blatant mistake made by a US it simply reflects the poor mind of them.

pablo says:

1- I’m not American. What makes you think so? Because I said that the US saved the world from communism? That fact should be evident to anyone with a decent knowledge of world history, regardless of their nationality. If you don’t recognize it, then it is you who is very mistaken AND ignorant..

2- I don’t see communism in anything.. My reference to it was only in response to a ridiculous post by another poster. Are your comprehension skills as horrible as your grasp of the English language?

MatiasNo Gravatar says:

Well is too sad that people like pablo dont realized that EEUU is not the only country in the world, i ask you one cuestions, what would happend if the plane was argentinian going to EEUU, taking expired medicines and undeclared weapons, what would happend?? i answer that, EEUU would do EXACTLY the same procedure that argentina did with them, argentina always follow the peace as EEUU, but EEUU search peace making war, we search peace in our way but not invading the countries that dont think like us

Pogi says:

If a Argentine areonave with training team had morphine for medications and a weapons for entrenamiento, the EEUU would have no problem. They would welcome the opportunity to work together.

MatiasNo Gravatar says:

Do you realize that in all your comment you dont answer anything?? and you tell me taht i say words without meaning?? jaja you are more fool that i tought you were, jajajaja and you say we are people so brainwashed when you dont realize what really happend with the plane?? typical of an american or people like americans that thinks they are right and the other are wrong always, thats why you are hated in all the world, besides you are so stupid that you think argentinians are anti-Americans when we are anti-Bush, because bush made terrorism in irak for protect his own people from terrorist, cant you see how stupid this sounds?? well your ex president did this, we dont hate EEUU we hate the government that made wars killing innocent people childrens, but ofcurse you are so idiot for realize whats going on in your country how can you know whats going on in our country

Sherlock Holmes says:

And now what?The whole case is closed at once-The training lost, the medications where ok. after all….remember many people missed the whole point-Old medications won’t work.It was only for teaching to the officials and people to control the law, how to save lifes, how to comfront the crooks , the ones right now killing decent, honest police workers who are in front of demented delincuents weho will not think for a minute in firing to police heads….for not having ” lo que nos pertenece”-Police is right now in dire danger.Without firearmas, just being like  social workers mediators, negociators…. exposing their lifes

MarcosNo Gravatar says:

The actual government was in opposition to those ‘training’ courses.

This is how they teach to save lives:
“A esto se suma la polémica decisión de la Policía Metropolitana de enviar a sus efectivos a cursos en la International Law Enforcement Academy (ILEA) en El Salvador, una especie de nueva Escuela de las Américas, célebre por haber formado a los militares golpistas de todo el continente”

http://www.pagina12.com.ar/diario/elpais/1-162670-2011-02-19.html

“… how to save lifes”. That was a good one.

Marcos, no pierdas tu tiempo, este blog esta escrito por un periodista yankee para argentinos yankofilos que vienen a acá a acabar frente al monitor leyendo las boludeces que bien podrían leer en Clarin o La Nación, pero prefieren leerlas en ingles para sentirse mas cool.

Mandrake says:

Muchachitos resentidos-
En el fondo despotrican pero aman a los EE. uu-
Si se pudiera regalarles unos pasajes a disney world irian corriendo-
Usa es amada y odiada, pero como a lo odiado, en el fondo se le mira con respeto-
Cada vez que hay un enorme desastre mundial, los ojos del mundo todo, no importa en que tiempo y a que distancia, miran hacia los Estados Unidos como unico puente de humana salvacion-
Y no soy yanki ni nada parecido-
Ojala lo de esta disputa se arregle pronto y estemos todos unidos en gran union como nunca antes que el mundo esta tronando con otros problemas mas graves, como ser la radiacion que se nos viene globalmente encima, mejor pensemos como apagar ese monstruo, y olvidemos ya las valijas….los valijones
Miremos a los USA A VER CON QUE SE VIENEN PARA APAGAR LA RADIACION, Rusos son aceptados.
Y naciones de todo el mundo, sin importar las ideas

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