Argentine President-elect Alberto Fernández said he spoke by telephone for almost an hour Saturday with French President Emmanuel Macron and discussed issues across South America, including the release from jail of Brazil’s former leader.
“We had a splendid conversation,” Fernández said during the opening session of the Grupo de Puebla meeting in Buenos Aires.
“We have spoken about the problems of the continent,” including, he said, the return to politics of Brazil’s former president, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, after a high-profile court decision reversed rules for keeping convicts in jail.
Fernández said the two leaders also discussed the situation in countries such as Chile, Bolivia, Argentina and Venezuela, though he didn’t offer any details.
"I felt that Macron understood me. I told Macron that with Lula freed, new winds are blowing in Brazil," Fernandez said, in an allusion to the friction the French president has experienced with Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro.
He added that he had invited Macron to his inauguration.
Argentina and France will discuss dates for a possible Fernández visit to France, according to one of the Frente de Todos leader's spokespeople.
Fernández, who takes office on December 10, was a speaker at the first meeting of the group, created in July to bring together left-wing leaders from the region.
“The continent needs the Grupo de Puebla,” Fernández said in his opening remarks. “Four years ago, we thought conservatism was here to stay in Latin America.”
Former presidents such as Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff and Paraguay’s Fernando Lugo are among the members of the self-described progressive group that will discuss regional priorities during the weekend. On the agenda are topics such as climate change, migration and growth.