Argentine President Rents $880,000 Jet for Cuba, Asia Travel

Argentina is renting a jet so President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner can avoid the threat of having her official plane seized by defaulted bondholders during a tour of Asia that will begin with a stop in Havana to see ailing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez.

Fernandez rented the plane for $880,000 instead of using the president’s Boeing 757 aircraft at the recommendation of the Foreign Ministry, the government said today in a statement on the presidential website. The decision follows a legal battle with Ghana after the African nation detained an Argentine naval ship for 10 weeks as part of a dispute with investors holding bonds from the country’s 2001 default.

Fernandez’s agenda has her arriving in Cuba on the same day the cancer-stricken Chavez was supposed to be in Caracas for his inauguration to a third six-year term. Bolivian President Evo Morales was rebuffed in his effort last month to visit the 58- year-old leader, who hasn’t been seen in public since just before undergoing his fourth cancer-related surgery in Havana about a month ago.

“Fernandez will depart on Jan. 10 directly to Havana,” Paula Chain, a spokeswoman at the presidential palace said today in a phone interview from Buenos Aires. “The president will try to visit President Chavez.”

Venezuelan Vice President Nicolas Maduro said the Jan. 10 inauguration date in the constitution is a “formality” and that the swearing in can be done at a later time.

After Cuba, Fernandez will continue on to the United Arab Emirates, Vietnam and Indonesia, Chain said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Pablo Gonzalez in Buenos Aires at pgonzalez49@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: James Attwood at jattwood3@bloomberg.net; Andre Soliani at asoliani@bloomberg.net

Press spacebar to pause and continue. Press esc to stop.

Bloomberg reserves the right to remove comments but is under no obligation to do so, or to explain individual moderation decisions.

Please enable JavaScript to view the comments powered by Disqus.