January 31, 2010

ARGENTINA: Pork better for sex than Viagra, declares President Cristina

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LONDON, England / Sky News / World News / January 31, 2010

The president of Argentina has announced that pork
is a more effective sexual stimulant than Viagra,
as she tries to boost the country's pig industry.

By Heather Christie, Sky News Online

Buenos Aires -
Cristina Fernandez claimed she and her husband had just spent a fulfilling weekend of marital bliss after tucking into some barbecued chops.

"Eating pork improves your sex life. I'd say it's a lot nicer to eat a bit of grilled pork than take Viagra," she said in a speech to the leaders of Argentina's pig farming industry.

"And let me tell you, I am a big fan of pork meat, and I am not just saying that to look good here."

Where's the beef? Argentina's president Cristina Fern√°ndez, 57, is attempting to promote the pleasures of pig meat to her citizens, as the cattle industry goes through a crisis. Photo: Eduardo Di Baia / AP

Ms Fernandez's half-joking comments were met with applause from the country's pork industry leaders. The light-hearted comments introduced Fernandez's proposed subsidies for Argentina's pig business. Fernandez was elected in 2007.

The president did, however, voice concern as to how her husband, former Argentinian president Nestor Kirchner, would react to her public revelation.

"I just realised what I said - Kirchner will kill me," she said.

The comment has been played repeatedly on television and radio stations, and has sparked fierce debate on whether Argentines, some of the world's most avid beef consumers, should add more pork to their diet.

Argentinians consume a little more than their body weight in beef every year and have little interest in replacing their beefy meals with chicken, pork or other meats.

The head of the association of pork producers, Juan Luis Uccelli, has supported Ms Fernandez's speech, saying that Denmark and Japan have a much more "harmonious" sexual life than Argentinians because they eat a lot of pig meat.

"In Osaka, Japan, there is a village in which the people who reached 105 years old and ate a lot of pork had a lot of sexual activity," he told a radio station.

Others were sceptical.

A specialist in sexual dysfunction, has told the Argentinian newspaper La Nacion that there was no study showing that pork meat significantly improves sexual activity.

Argentines are the world's biggest per capita consumers of beef, but the government has sought to promote pork as an alternative in recent years due to rising steak prices and as a way to diversify the meat industry.

"Trying it doesn't cost anything, so let's give it a go," Fernandez said in the televised speech.

Copyright ©2010 BskyB

Backgrounder

Who Is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner?

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner will have no trouble finding her way around Argentina's presidential palace, the Casa Rosada or Pink House.

For the past four years, it has been her husband's workplace and from 10 December it is set to be hers for the next four.

Cristina, as the majority of Argentines call her, has often been described as a strong-willed woman, obsessed with her image.

But she is a politician with a long track-record, a record many say facilitated the political rise of her husband, Argentine President Nestor Kirchner. There is no doubt that they make a formidable political couple.

Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner was born 19 February, 1953, in La Plata, the capital of the province of Buenos Aires, where she graduated in law.

She married Mr Kirchner, who she met at university in 1975; a year later, the couple went to live in his home region, the southern province of Santa Cruz.
At the end of the 1980s Cristina Elizabeth Fernandez began her political career, first as a provincial then as a national deputy.

But it was her husband who rose through the Peronist ranks.

In 1991, Mr Kirchner was elected governor of Santa Cruz, a post he won twice more, while Cristina supported him in her capacity as a deputy.

Wives duel:  When Mr Kirchner took office as president in 2003 - in the midst of one of the worst economic and social crises in the country - a similar pattern emerged.  By then Cristina Fernandez was a senator herself with her own political weight in Congress, where she actively supported her husband's policies. Cristina cemented her political position in the congressional elections of 2005.

Taking 46% of the votes, she won in the province of Buenos Aires in a contest dubbed "the wives' duel", beating her main rival, Hilda Gonzalez, the wife of the former President Eduardo Duhalde (2002-2003).

During Mr Kirchner's administration, there was almost no decision taken in which she did not have a say, her influence exceeding that of an ordinary lawmaker.  She was also the first senator to have an office within the presidential palace, provoking criticism from the opposition.  The governing party insisted that the office was small and is hers by virtue of her position as first lady.

Now Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner is set to take occupy the Casa Rosada in her own right.  She is expected to continue her husband's policies, but with more emphasis on international ties, in particular easing the at times strained ties with Washington.

During the campaign she offered few specific policies, took part in no debates and avoided Argentine media interviews until the day before campaigning ended.

Evita: As a legislator, Cristina Fernandez was recognised for her intellectual strength and for her determined campaigning in the fields of human rights and women's issues. But some members of the opposition - and even her own party - seem daunted by her strong character, accusing her of arrogance.

She is said to be obsessed with her fitness and health, as well as her public image. She drinks mineral water from just one brand and often wears designer labels.

Analysts say that perhaps her weak spot is her inexperience in office. She is certainly taking over at a testing time for Argentina, where despite the economic recovery of recent years, many still live in poverty.  Rising prices and continuing energy shortages seem set to pose very real challenges to her administration.  Cristina Fernandez has been compared to Eva Peron, Argentina's legendary first lady who formed a formidable ruling partnership with her husband Juan Domingo Peron in the late 1940s and early 50s.  But Evita was never elected. Cristina Fernandez, by contrast, has become Argentina's first elected female president. [rc]

By courtesy of  BBC News

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