In response to the strengthening of ties between Hugo Chavez and recently elected Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner’s government, Condoleezza Rice will skip the country on a two-day trip to South America. The snub further underscores a growing divide between the U.S.’s traditional Latin American allies and a growing movement in opposition to U.S. policy in the region.

The New York Times:

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is scheduled to touch down in Brazil on Thursday for a two-day visit to South America, less than two weeks after Colombia’s assassination of a top rebel leader enraged Ecuador’s president and drew threats of military action by Venezuela’s president, Hugo Chávez.

Ms. Rice will visit Brazil and Chile, but notably absent from her itinerary is Argentina, where Cristina Fernández de Kirchner in October became the first woman elected to be the country’s president. The omission underscores Washington’s disappointment with the new Kirchner government, which has continued to strengthen ties with Mr. Chávez while accusing the United States of political motives in an investigation into a suspected $800,000 secret campaign contribution from Venezuela to Mrs. Kirchner.

“The United States is clearly snubbing Argentina,” said Peter Hakim, the president of the Inter-American Dialogue in Washington. “They are unhappy with Argentina in ways that continue with this new president.”

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