Uruguay president Jose Mujica overheard calling Argentina's Cristina Kirchner 'old hag'
Be Careful with your mouth!
URUGUAY'S President Jose Mujica had no apologies Friday after disparaging remarks aimed at Argentine counterpart Cristina Kirchner and her late husband were picked up by an open microphone.
In a radio presentation, Mr Mujica talked about the close links between the two countries, and emphasised that no event or person "can uproot our common history".
Mr Mujica made no reference to his remarks broadcast live on Thursday at the start of a news conference while he was speaking privately with another official.
"This old hag is worse than the one-eyed guy," Mr Mujica was caught saying, without realising that the microphones were on.
It was a clear reference to Mrs Kirchner and her late husband, former president Nestor Kirchner, who had a lazy eye and was nicknamed "El Tuerto" (the one-eyed guy).
"'El Tuerto' was more of a politician, this one is stubborn," Mr Mujica said.
He also had a catty comment on Mrs Kirchner's gift to Pope Francis: "To an Argentine Pope, who has lived for 77 years, are you going to explain to him what...mate and a flask are?"
The reference was to Mrs Kirchner's gift a gourd to drink mate, the herbal infusion popular in the Argentina and Uruguay, to the newly elected Pope.
Word of Mr Mujica's slip-up shut down the website of Uruguay's El Observador newspaper, which recorded historic traffic, according to the outlet's digital content manager. The audio had also been broadcast live on the president's official website.
One hour after his remarks Mr Mujica told the online edition of another newspaper, La Republica, that he had been talking about Lula and Brazil, and that he had not spoken "publicly" about Argentina.
"I'm not going to play ball with them or go around the world clarifying anything. They can invent all the nonsense that they want," Mr Mujica snapped.
The comments, however, went viral on social media.
Argentine Foreign Minister Hector Timerman on Thursday slammed the remarks as "unacceptable" and "denigrating," adding that they offended the memory of the deceased.
An official protest was delivered in the form of a note to Uruguay's ambassador to Argentina, Guillermo Pomi.
Nestor Kirchner was Argentina's president from 2003 to 2007. His wife, Cristina, succeeded him and won re-election in 2011. Nestor Kirchner was a key adviser to his wife up to his sudden death of a heart attack in 2010.
Mr Mujica, 77, is a former guerrilla who took office in 2010.