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Clinton Ends Latin American Trip at Argentine Resort

<i> From Associated Press</i>

In this famed playground for the rich and famous, Dwight and Mamie Eisenhower caught the largest trout of their lives. Walt Disney artists copied enchanting forest backdrops for Bambi. Even Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid camped in Cholila Valley for a time.

A resort boasts of one of Argentina’s most challenging golf courses.

On Friday, President Clinton came here, golf clubs in tow.

Winding up a three-nation Latin American trip, the president and his wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton, settled in for an overnight stay at a Patagonia hotel with a rustic wooden decor and the feel of a posh ski resort. South of the equator, it’s springtime in Argentina. Skies were sunny and temperatures cool.

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Clinton’s only official appearance was scheduled to be a visit today to Nahuei Huapi National Park--1.6 million acres of mountains, forests, lakes and rivers--to speak about global climate changes. After a week away, he will leave for Washington tonight.

Apart from golf, there were options for the president and first lady to go horseback riding or take a cruise on Lake Nahuei Huapi.

The president, in fact, was presented with two thoroughbred horses after a state dinner in Buenos Aires that wound up early Friday. President Carlos Menem gave them to Clinton as a gift to the American people.

Descended from a breed used by Spanish conquerors and renowned for resilience and skill, the horses were from the same stock as a pair of horses given to Calvin Coolidge in 1925 when he was president.

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The horses did not accompany the president here. His jumbo jetliner is outfitted with a lot of special features, but it doesn’t have horse stalls.

Lured by Patagonia’s beauty, wealthy Americans have been buying up land, prompting doomsday warnings by the local governor. Sylvester Stallone bought “hundreds of acres” recently, adding to his purchase of 34,600 acres near Bariloche. His neighbors include Ted Turner and Jane Fonda.

The president flew here from Buenos Aires, where in a morning speech to business leaders, he renewed his now-familiar arguments for free trade and stable democracies, saying they will improve lives.

“Latin America’s emerging markets are expected to grow more than twice as fast as the economies of advanced industrial nations,” Clinton said, emphasizing the message he delivered in Venezuela and Brazil earlier this week. “Now it is clearly in the United States’ interests to be at the forefront of that for the next generation.”

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