LONDON (Reuters) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton questioned the mental health of Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, asking U.S. diplomats to investigate whether she was under medication, leaked cables showed on Tuesday.
Britain’s Guardian newspaper — one of several publications to have had early access to U.S. diplomatic cables made public by the whistle-blowing website WikiLeaks — quoted secret memos sent by Clinton to the U.S. Embassy in Buenos Aires last December. Clinton asked diplomats a series of questions about the “interpersonal dynamics” between Fernandez and her late husband, Nestor Kirchner, and enquired how the 57-year-old leader was managing “her nerves and anxiety.”
“Under what circumstances is she best able to handle stresses? How do Cristina Fernandez de Kircher’s emotions affect her decision-making and how does she calm down when distressed?” The Guardian quoted a cable as saying.
“How does stress affect her behavior toward advisers and/or her decision-making? What steps does Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner or her advisers/handlers take in helping her deal with stress? Is she taking any medication?”
Having succeeded her husband in 2007 for a four-year term, Fernandez became known for being a sharp-tongued and forthright politician, who often peppers her fiery speeches with criticism of rivals, private companies and the media.
The secret cable appeared to have been prompted by diplomatic spats which showed Kirchner’s government “to be extremely thin-skinned and intolerant of perceived criticism,” the Guardian said.
Clinton said on Monday that the U.S. government deeply regretted the release of any classified information and would tighten security to prevent leaks such as WikiLeaks’ disclosure of a trove of State Department cables.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez criticized Clinton’s comments on state television and expressed his “solidarity with the president of Argentina.”
“Someone should study Mrs. Clinton’s mental health ... She feels superior to Obama... Because she is white, she feels superior to the black president,” Chavez said.