BUENOS AIRES, April 5 (UPI) -- Uruguayan President Jose Mujica was caught unawares by an open microphone referring to his Argentine counterpart as "the old lady."
The gaffe Thursday about Argentine President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and her predecessor and husband, the late Nestor Kirchner, prompted an angry response from Argentina, MercoPress reported. Within hours, the Argentine Foreign Ministry handed a letter of protest to the Uruguayan ambassador, saying Mujica's remarks caused "deep discomfort."
Mujica, who had just given a news conference in a farming area where he had discussed trade relations with Argentina and Brazil, apparently believed his microphone had been turned off.
"The old lady is worse than the cross-eyed man," he said, referring to Fernandez and Kirchner.
In its statement, the Argentine Foreign Ministry said Fernandez would not respond to the gaffe. The ministry also emphasized Argentina's close ties to its smaller neighbor.
"The ministry considers that the historic relationship that binds both nations should not be affected by expressions that offend those who represented the Argentine Republic and its people," the statement indicated.