In Argentina, the second stop of his weeklong tour in Latin America, Vice President Mike Pence praised the economic reforms implemented by the country's current administration. Mr. Pence met with President Mauricio Macri, a conservative politician who was elected last year after 12 years of left-wing governments led by the Kirchner clan (late Nestor and his wife Cristina).

During a speech at the old Stock Exchange in Buenos Aires, the capital of Argentina, the Vice President said that the “bold reform agenda” carried out by President Macri was to be praised, in opposition to the deepening crisis in Venezuela, the San Francisco Chronicle reports.

Mr. Pence also said that President Trump’s “America First” policy doesn’t mean “America Alone”.

Full schedule

During his one-day visit to the country, Mr. Pence had several meetings with Argentine officials and the President. He also visited the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral, the main Catholic church in the city, located downtown and very close to Plaza de Mayo (May Square), the capital’s landmark.

At a joint press conference, the Vice President said that Argentina’s economic reforms should be seen as an inspiration not only to the region as to the “wider world”. The reforms carried out by the Argentine administration encompass spending cuts and lower taxes on exports. The President also put an end to subsidies for energy, food, and housing, which made up the core of the former administration’s policies.

Good electoral results

President Macri’s coalition had very good results in primary elections held last week in Argentina. His allies won in several provinces once dominated by the Kirchners. Even in Buenos Aires, where former President Christina Kirchner will run for the Senate, the government’s candidate beat her in the primaries.

The primary elections in Argentina are used as a thermometer for the upcoming October elections, in which the Legislative branch will be renovated.

The results are being celebrated by Mr. Macri’s team because they were not sure about the support of the population to the reforms. Although it has reached important achievements, such as its return to the global capital markets following a long period of debt default, the country has still a lot of problems to cope with, as high inflation and unemployment.

Bilateral trade and Venezuela

Exports from Argentina to the U.S. totaled $ 2.5 billion in 2016, according to the San Francisco Chronicle citing the Argentine Chamber of Commerce. The U.S. is the third most important market for Argentina, after Brazil and China. During the visit of the Vice President, no new agreements were signed. However, Mr. Pence underlined major investments by American oil companies in a large shale oil and gas field called “Vaca Muerta”.

Vice President Pence also talked about the situation in Venezuela. According to him, the country is to become a dictatorship, what would endanger the “security and prosperity” in the entire region. Mr. Macri also expressed his concerns on the situation, although he has himself made clear about Trump’s “military option.” According to the San Francisco Chronicle, he said that “the way to go is not the use of force.”