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In Argentina's Oil, A Glimpse Of Latin America's Left

•, by Juan Forero

Just the arrival of Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner prompted supporters in her Peronist movement to break into chants Monday. The event, choreographed to feel momentous, was at the presidential palace. Fernandez de Kirchner announced plans to expropriate assets of the Spanish oil firm Repsol in Argentina.

Through a window, television viewers could see a huge image of Evita Peron, the famous 1950s-era populist whose presence is deeply felt in today's government.

"Companies that are here with foreign stockholders are Argentine companies," Fernandez de Kirchner said. "Let no one forget that."

The president's plans, likely to be easily approved by Congress this week, delighted the left in her country and were condemned by the Europeans and criticized by the U.S. State Department.

The move also provides a peek at what the left might look like in Latin America, just as Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez and the Castros in Cuba appear to be fading.

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