March 3, 2006

Bono pays homage to ‘new Argentina’

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (Reuters) - Rock star Bono wound up
the Latin America leg of U2's Vertigo tour with a message of
optimism for crisis-wracked Argentina.

"Argentines have gone through difficult times, but these
have been overcome by a new Argentina," he said in Spanish, to
the 60,000-strong crowd at River Plate stadium on Thursday.

The singer, who bounded onstage dressed in the colors of
the Argentine flag, compared the country to Ireland, where
famine and poverty forced millions into emigration.

But Bono's key message for Argentina -- now on a rebound
from the 2001-02 economic crisis -- was to look to the future.

"Our pasts will not prevent us from making a better future
for ourselves," said the singer, known for his work promoting
human rights and debt relief.

Bono also sang "Mothers of the Disappeared" in a homage to
the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo, who denounced the disappearance
of tens of thousands during Argentina's 1976-83 military
regime. Several of the elderly mothers were at the concert.

He partied afterwards with soccer legend Diego Maradona.