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Pope Francis forces Argentine political about-face

FILE - In this March 18 2013 file phoprovided by Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano Pope Francis is presented mate gourd

FILE - In this March 18, 2013 file photo provided by the Vatican paper L'Osservatore Romano, Pope Francis is presented a mate gourd and straw, to hold the traditional Argentine tea, by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez, during their meeting at the Vatican. Catholic doctrine considers the pope to be God's delegate on Earth. That alone might explain the remarkable about-face that Argentina's president and most of her followers have managed to pull off in the days since the cardinal she treated as a political arch-enemy became Pope Francis. (AP Photo/L'Osservatore Romano, File)

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentina’s populist president Cristina Fernandez and most of her followers have managed to pull off a sudden about-face in the days since the cardinal she treated as a political arch-enemy became Pope Francis.

Fernandez long sought to neutralize the influence of Buenos Aires Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio. For years, her allies had labeled him “chief of the opposition” and “accomplice of the dictatorship.”

So they suddenly found themselves out of step with the joy most Argentines have shown at seeing one of their own running the Vatican.

They weren’t out of step for long, though.

After an initial delay, Fernandez has jumped to ally herself with the pope — even as some of her followers continue to criticize him.



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