n Brussels police are still desperately hunting a dangerous terrorist after he fled a triple-suicide bombing in the city that left 34 dead, as American officials hunt for news on citizens who went missing during the attack and tend to nine more lying in hospital wounded.
Meanwhile in Buenos Aires President Barack Obama is dancing the tango with wife Michelle at a state dinner alongside Argentine President Mauricio Macri and his first lady Juliana Awada as part of a glitzy two-day state visit.
Despite increasing criticism from the likes of Donald Trump and Ted Cruz for the President to return home in the wake of the Brussels attack, Obama has show his determination to carry on regardless.
The foursome were pictured arriving at the Centro Cultural Kirchner, named after Argentina’s former President and Marci’s predecessor, in the country’s capital this evening.
The group paused for a photo opportunity on a red carpet with Obama and Marci dressed in suits and Michelle and Awada in glamorous evening dresses.
From there they made their way into a leafy candlelit courtyard for champagne, where Obama was pictured clinking glasses with Marci.
Meanwhile a few streets away human rights protesters were busy burning American flags and demanding Obama leave the country.
The protesters accuse America of backing dictatorial regimes during the Cold War in South America, including in Argentina, and hold the U.S. responsible for the thousands who died or were disappeared under their rule.
Today marks the 40th anniversary of the military coup in Argentina that ushered in one of the most oppressive dictatorships in Latin American history, which demonstrators argue makes Obama’s visit particularly offensive.
Earlier in the day, Obama sought to deflect criticism of his foreign travel in the wake of Belgium’s terror attacks, saying the U.S. must show ISIS that it does not have power over its citizens.
‘We are strong, our values are right. You offer nothing, except death,’ Obama said of ISIS.
Gesturing in the direction of Argentinian President Mauricio Macri, who was standing to his left at a joint news conference this afternoon in Buenos Aires, Obama said, ‘It is important for the United States president and the United States government to be able to work with people who are building and who are creating things.’
‘We have to make sure that we lift up and stay focused, as well, on the things that are most important to us,’ he said. ‘Because we’re on the right side of history.’
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz lit into Obama yesterday for continuing on to Argentina from Cuba rather than returning to Washington after the Brussels bombings that took 34 lives and left many wounded.
Cruz said he’d empower law enforcement to increase its patrols of Muslim communities to keep similar attacks from happening in America.
Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani also ripped into Obama for attending a baseball game in Cuba yesterday afternoon instead of jumping on his plane and coming home after the Brussels attacks.
‘You don’t send a picture of yourself laughing ,while people have just been blown up at a level that…is the equivalent of September 11 to one of our allies,’ said Giuliani, mayor of New York at the time of deadly 2001 terrorist attacks.
Obama said today that surveillance of Muslim communities to prevent terror attacks is not only ‘wrong’ and ‘un-American,’ it makes ‘absolutely no sense.’
He likewise said that Cruz’s plan to take out ISIS by carpet bombing the areas it controls is counter-productive and ‘inhumane.’
‘Groups like ISIL can’t destroy us. They can’t defeat us. They don’t produce anything. They’re not an existential threat to us,’ Obama said today in defense of his trip to Argentina. ‘They are viscous killers and murders who have perverted one of the world’s great religions.’
The terrorist group’s primary source power in in addition to taking innocent lives, he said, ‘is to strike fear in our societies, to disrupt our societies. so that that the effect cascades.’
Obama said they world must not give them what they want. ‘Even as we are systematic and ruthless and focused in going after them, disrupting their networks, getting their leaders….it is very important for us to not respond with fear.’
‘That’s hard to do because we see the impact in such an intimate way of the attacks,’ he acknowledged. ‘But we defeat them in part by saying: you are not strong, you are weak.’
‘We send a message to those who might be inspired by them to say, you are not going to change our values.’
Obama began the second leg of his trip abroad this morning, meeting with Argentinian President Mauricio Macri in Buenos Aires.
Macri greeted Obama at Casa Rosada, the office of the president, and the two leaders proceeded to engage in closed-door talks.
This afternoon they held a customary press conference afterward and will participate in a state dinner together in the evening.
Obama is due to return to Washington Friday morning and has made no indications that he’ll come back sooner in spite of Tuesday’s terror attack in Brussels.
He had a town hall this afternoon for entrepreneurs at the Usina del Arte that the center’s director says 1,00 young people attended. He also visited the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Cathedral and met with U.S. embassy staff at a hotel.
Tomorrow he and his family will visit the Parque de la Memoria in remembrance of the victims of Argentina’s decade-long Dirty War and take a day trip to Bariloche, Argentina, before they make the journey home.
The president’s political opponents say he should have hopped on his plane yesterday morning and returned to Washington.
Instead he stuck to schedule in Havana, attending a baseball game with the first family and Cuban dictator Raul Castro, and continued on to Argentina.