NPR logo Unguarded Moment: Uruguay's President Calls Argentine Counterpart An 'Old Hag'

America

Unguarded Moment: Uruguay's President Calls Argentine Counterpart An 'Old Hag'

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica. Miguel Rojo /AFP/Getty Images hide caption

toggle caption Miguel Rojo /AFP/Getty Images

Uruguayan President Jose Mujica.

Miguel Rojo /AFP/Getty Images

Talk about an oops moment: Talking before the start of a press conference, when perhaps he thought the mics were off, Uruguay's President José Mujica called Argentina's President Cristina Fernández an "old hag" who is worst than her "one-eyed" late husband and former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner.

"One eye was more of a politician," Mujica is heard saying on a video published by the Uruguayan newspaper El Observador Thursday. He goes on to say that she has no idea what she is doing, referencing her trip to Rome to visit the Argentine Pope Francis.

"You're not going to go to a 70-year-old Argentine pope and explain to him what's a map, what's mate (Argentine tea) and what's a flask," Mujica said.

The AP reports Mujica worked hard to move past this. But Argentina launched a formal complaint. The AP adds:

"Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman formally protested to Uruguay's ambassador, calling the comments 'unacceptable and denigrating ... particularly from someone whom Dr. Kirchner had considered to be a friend.'

"Mujica, however, said he had nothing to apologize for because 'publicly, I've never talked about Argentina,' and insisted that the countries will remain close allies, no matter what.

"'Even though history separated us, nothing and no one can tear apart our history,' Mujica said. 'We were born from the same placenta as the Argentine people, and if this drama has separated us, the pain also draws us together.'"'

El Observador, by the way, published a story today that reports Mujica — a former guerrilla fighter — was told the microphones may have been open.

He replied: "What's one more stripe on a tiger?"

We no longer support commenting on NPR.org stories, but you can find us every day on Facebook, Twitter, email, and many other platforms. Learn more or contact us.