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Nestor Kirchner, former president, dies in Argentina

Nestor kirchner clarin

Nestor Kirchner, the former president of Argentina and husband of the current president, Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, has died suddenly of a heart attack. Kirchner was rushed to a hospital in the city of El Calafate with his wife at his side, and was pronounced dead by Wednesday morning. He was 60.

The former president's passing shocked the country and plunged the future of Argentina's complex political world into doubt as presidential elections approach next year. Kirchner, who served as president between 2003 and 2007, was expected to be the ruling party's candidate in the 2011 elections. He would have assumed the presidency from his wife if elected.

A political boss with unrivaled unofficial power, Kirchner was also secretary-general of the Union of South American Nations at the time of his death. His passing caused a spike in Argentine stocks this morning as investors speculated that the economy would stabilize and government spending would drop.

Social networking sites were already calling for a mass public memorial at the Plaza de Mayo in Buenos Aires, Pagina 12 reported (link in Spanish). Readers can follow more local coverage in Spanish as the day progresses at Pagina 12 and Clarin.

-- Daniel Hernandez in Mexico City

Photo: Nestor Kirchner, former president of Argentina. Credit:

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There is alot of good to say about this Man. For One he took an economy that went through five presidents in two weeks after the financial collapse of 2001, no one could control the country or the econonmy. Secondly, He did alot to bring people to justice who were responsible for war crimes during the dictatorship of 1976 to 1983. I quess if you appreciate an out of control economy and have a hunger for unpunished crimials then he probably wasn't your cup of tea.

There's nothing good to say about Néstor Kirchner. His legacy is horrendous: rampant corruption; anti-democratic authoritarianism; systematic lying & distortion on every issue; hypocritical use of traditional left-wing topics and the defense of human rights as covers for his shady business deals and his attacks on anyone daring to critizise him. He spent his last three years of life promoting division (even hatred) at every single opportunity, and trying to stifle freedom of speech.

It will take lots of effort to restore respect of the National Constitution and confidence in the democratic institutions. Overcoming the hatred he promoted may prove even more difficult.

José M., Argentina


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