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'Just Another Provocation,' Says Argentina About Thatcher Funeral Snub

Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez.
Javier Soriano
AFP/Getty Images
Argentina's President Cristina Fernandez.

Argentina is shrugging off Britain's decision to leave President Cristina Fernandez off the guest list for the funeral of former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher.

"What do I care if I'm not invivted somewhere I never intended to go," Argentina's Foreign Minister Héctor Timerman told Radio Del Plata. "It's just another provocation."

But he also added: "The woman has died; let the family mourn her in peace."

The Guardian reports that the Thatcher family asked the British government to leave Fernandez out of the funeral guest list. The paper explains:

"Until this morning there was official silence in Argentina regarding the death of Thatcher, who is both reviled and respected in the country for her swift military response following Argentina's invasion of the Falkland Islands in 1982.

"Britain defeated Argentina in that brief war, but Thatcher is considered a war criminal by many Argentinians for her order to sink the General Belgrano cruiser even though it was outside the UK-declared exclusion zone, resulting in the loss of 323 lives. At the same time, she is held in esteem by others because the swift defeat resulted in humiliation and the collapse of the bloody military dictatorship that ruled Argentina at the time."

As we've reported, the relationship between Argentina and the United Kingdom has been tense lately. Fernandez even called on the newly-minted Argentine pope to mediate the dispute.

The BBC has a full story on who did get an invitation to the funeral.

There's also another bit of news about Argentina today: The BBC says Uruguay's President José Mujica has apologized for calling Fernandez an "old hag" during an off-mic moment.

The BBC reports Mujica offered his "heartfelt apologies" during a radio interview, then explained he can sometimes be rough:

"'We can't avoid that our daily and intimate manner of speaking is sometimes rough,' he said, adding that it has been shaped by spending many years in prison cells and detention.

"'This kind of language is miles away from public speeches, from the press. It has only to do with intimate relationships between very few.'"

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Eyder Peralta is NPR's East Africa correspondent based in Nairobi, Kenya.
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