A Texas-hatted Karel Schwarzenberg is seen with Krtek and Indira Feustel (in white), wife of astronaut Andrew Feustel
Czech Foreign Minister Karel Schwarzenberg (TOP 09) during his trip to the US joked that Krtek — the “Little Mole” that is currently aboard the space shuttle Endeavour — inherently has some of the Czech national character.
“By nature he makes tunnels,” the minister said at a reception at the Czech Center and Museum in Houston, Texas, according to the Czech News Agency (ČTK). Schwarzenberg looked the role of Texan, donning a white cowboy hat that was a gift from Czech Honorary Consul Raymond Snokhouse.
Tunneling can refer to a business practice of moving a company’s assets to another company at low prices, leaving investors in the original company with a worthless shell. The term originated in the Czech Republic in the early 1990s, when the practice was common and often did not violate any specific laws that existed at the time.
At the reception, Schwarzenberg met with Indira Feustel, the wife of astronaut Andrew Feustal, who took the puppet version of Krtek into space. She said that the puppet would return to Prague in the August. “Maybe now he will need bodyguards,” she said, commenting on his renewed popularity, according to ČTK. After the reception, Schwarzenberg was scheduled to go to the Houston Space Center to communicate with Feustal and the other astronauts currently docked at the International Space Station. ‘By nature he makes tunnels.’
Schwarzenberg is on a week-long trip to the US that will go through Texas, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington and New York to promote business opportunities and cooperation. On Tuesday, he is scheduled to speak at an IT seminar in San Francisco and meet with former US Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice. The following day he is slated to meet with representatives of the film industry in Los Angeles. His trip will end on Saturday.
The trip has not been all business. On May 28, Schwarzenberg attended the 45th Annual National Polka Festival in Ennis, Texas, where he met with veterans of World War II who participated in the liberation of Czechoslovakia.