US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo arrives to Argentina this week with a sweeping agenda to fortify bilateral ties with the government of President Mauricio Macri, US State Department officials told reporters on Tuesday.
On his fourth trip to Latin America, the former CIA Director will meet with Macri on Friday to “emphasise and reiterate our commitment to partnering for Argentina, not only at combatting terrorism and transnational crime but also on economic reform and promoting democratic governance,” a State Department official said.
“We share with them a really positive vision on how they can develop their energy sector,” the official added. “We’re very supportive and we admire how they have been working very hard to align their economy and their economic policies with OECD principles.”
Pompeo will also attend the second Western Hemisphere Counterterrorism Ministerial, with hopes of forming a common purpose with other governments to join the United States in its fight against Middle Eastern militant groups such as Hezbollah, ISIS and al-Qaeda.
The visit by US President Donald Trump’s top diplomat coincides with the 25th anniversary of the AMIA Jewish community centre bombing, which killed 85 people and has long been blamed on Hezbollah by Argentina's government. On Monday, Security Ministry officially created a registry to designate the armed-wing of the Lebanese political party as a terrorist organisation.
US Assistant Secretary of State Kimberly Breier will attend Thursday’s remembrance ceremony for the AMIA bombing, and is also set to join Pompeo in his meeting with Macri.
Erick Langer, a Latin America expert at Georgetown University in Washington DC, told AFP that Pompeo’s visit is meant to shore up international support for Macri ahead of October’s presidential elections, which could return former president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner to power as vice president.
“Pompeo is going to Argentina to support Macri and what could be lost,” “Langer told AFP. The Trump administration has declared its opposition to what it calls the “Troika of Tyranny,” comprised of the left-wing governments of Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua, longstanding allies of Fernández de Kirchner.
“The United States now looks forward to watching each corner of the triangle fall: in Havana, in Caracas, in Managua,” John Bolton, Trump’s national security advisor, said in a speech last year.
After Argentina, Pompeo is set to visit Ecuador, Mexico and El Salvador, where he will promote the Trump administration’s agenda on Venezuela, Iran and migration from Central America.