As George W. Bush was landing in Uruguayan soil, Hugo ChÃ¡vez was giving a two hours speech across the river Rio de la Plata.
The stadium of Ferrocarril Oeste in Buenos Aires gathered around 20 thousands spectators. Most of them from left leaning parties, some close to NÃ©stor KirchnerÂ´s government some to ChÃ¡vezÂ´s (and not too close to Kirchner).
Just as expected ChÃ¡vez provided a potent, lengthy and accessible speech to the masses of militants. There were, of course, direct references to Bush, particularly when ChÃ¡vez called him a â€œpolitical cadaverâ€, â€œit no longer smells to sulfur, it smells to cadaver.â€
ChÃ¡vez made it clear that the rally was made to â€œsay no to the presence of the imperial chief.â€ Kirchner was not present, nor anyone from his cabinet, except the General Secretary of the Government who was monitoring everything, being Kirchner`s eyes. There were other politicians closely related to Kirchner, one of the was former Foreign Affairs minister and current deputy, Rafael Bielsa. Also in attendance the leaders of several â€œpiqueterosâ€ (groups of people who picket roads to protest, fashionable method since the last crisis). All these groups are close allies of Kirchner.
However, as it is pointed in ClarÃn, there were other â€œpiqueterosâ€ that are in direct opposition to the government but they are pro-ChÃ¡vez. In the last rally that ChÃ¡vez did in Argentina (in November 2005, during the Summit of the Americas) when the Venezuelan president mentioned Kirchner there was whistling coming from the crowd. This time there was a pact so ChÃ¡vez could easily mentioned the name of the Argentinian leader without receiving disapproving gestures. The flags of Evita and Peron in one side, and the ones of Marx and Che Guevara on the other lived peacefully during the entire event.
It is not clear who paid the cost of renting the stadium (around US$ 17000) but the Argentinian government supplied the logistics to make it happen.
Not everyone was happy
Just as ChÃ¡vez appeared to garner a lot of support, there was a clear discontent with the entire political opposition (center left, center and, of course, the right parties).
One of these was Roberto Lavagna, former Economics Minister of Kirchner and now a presidential candidate, who said that Kirchner cannot control ChÃ¡vez: â€œThe Government cannot control ChÃ¡vez whem he is in Argentinian ground, which shows lack of power, or worse, that the Government thinks just like ChÃ¡vez and it does not dare to say it, which shows lack of courage.â€
One of the harshest criticism came from center-left presidential candidate Elisa CarriÃ³, who called ChÃ¡vez a â€œfascistâ€.
The action that particularly irritated Argentinians was the presence of more than 300 armed men from Venezuela to provide security to the rally. Kirchner remained silent to this action.