United States President Barack Obama bowed to pressure by Argentine activists and intellectuals and rescheduled his official visit to the country from March 24, which marks the 40th anniversary of the 1976 coup that installed a military dictatorship, to March 23, according to the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires.
Kevin Sullivan, deputy chief of mission at the U.S. embassy in Buenos Aires, said Friday that Obama and the first lady will now travel to the southern tourist resort of Bariloche, nearly 1,000 miles from Buenos Aires, on March 24.
Obama will arrive in the capital on the night of March 22, where he will meet President Mauricio Macri the next day, before leaving for Bariloche.
The development came days after Argentine 1980 Nobel Peace Prize winner Adolfo Perez Esquivel said Obama should cancel his upcoming trip to Argentina for coinciding with the anniversary of a coup that installed a U.S.-backed military government, U.S. news agency AP reported Thursday.
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Events are held on that date to commemorate the victims of the dictatorship and Dirty War, backed by the United States, which left up to 30,000 killed or disappeared.
Esquivel won the Nobel Prize for defending human rights when Argentina was still under dictatorship. "I'm a survivor of that era, of the flights of death, of the torture, of the prisons, of the exiles," Esquivel told AP. "And when you analyze the situation in depth, the United States was responsible for the coups in Latin America."
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Meanwhile, Hebe de Bonafini, Argentine human rights activist and founder of the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo, strongly criticized the timing of U.S. President Barack Obama's visit to Argentina.
The right-wing Argentine president, Mauricio Macri, who took office in December 2015, has been eager to cozy up to the United States after years of fraught relations between the two countries under the leadership of leftist former presidents.
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