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Hayek Draws Mexican Flak for Kosovo Morale Booster

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Hollywood star Salma Hayek has sparked debate in her native Mexico by visiting Kosovo to entertain U.S. troops on Thanksgiving Day.

Sen. Jorge Calderon, chairman of the Mexican Senate's foreign relations committee, bristled at the idea that the star of "Wild Wild West'' had traveled to Kosovo, where U.S. forces earlier this year led military action that was condemned in traditionally neutral Mexico.

"It is improper for a Mexican artist to travel to a foreign military barracks in a combat zone,'' Calderon told the daily La Jornada.

Mexican actress Salma Hayek (C) holds a banner as she poses for pictures with U.S. soldiers in Pristina, capital of Kosovo, Wednesday. Hayek is on a two-day visit with U.S. troops who are part of the international KFOR force in Kosovo. Woman at left is unidentified. (Hazir Reka/Reuters) Close Mexican coverage of Hayek's visit on Thursday included discussions of whether the constitution prohibited contacts with troops of a foreign country.

But other senators rallied to her defense, saying that Hayek, born in the Gulf coast town of Coatzacoalcos, had paid a strictly private visit.

"There is no cause for her to lose her nationality or to request permission from Congress,'' said Sen. Martha Lara, chairwoman of the Senate committee for relations with Mexico's northern neighbors.

Hayek's U.S.-based success has sparked pride that a Mexican actress has conquered Hollywood, mixed with embarrassment that she is known more for her sensuous good looks than for acting skill.