Oct 28 2010

Nestor Kirchner’s Life and Legacy

Feature Stories | Published 28 Oct 2010, 10:05 am | Comments Off on Nestor Kirchner’s Life and Legacy -

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Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner has died unexpectedly of a heart attack. He was 60 years old. Kirchner, whose wife Cristina is currently president, served as his nation’s head-of-state from 2003 to 2007, in the wake of Argentina’s severe financial crash. He was planning on running again for president in the next election. Argentineans remember his role in helping their country emerge from its worst economic crisis in recent history. Kirchner is also credited with helping make serious changes to the country’s judicial system, which set into motion hundreds of trials of human rights violators from Argentina’s dictatorship era. Kirchner also served as Secretary General of UNASUR, the Union of South American Republics. Among his achievements in that role was mediating recent disputes between Venezuela and Colombia. But while Argentineans mourned his loss, stocks on Wall Street rallied in response to Nestor Kirchner’s death, euphoric at the prospect of a regime more favorable to business interests. The financial collapse of 1999-2002 had resulted in a sudden flight by business owners and foreign investors, leaving Argentineans out of work. Instead of toeing the IMF’s line on debt-restructuring and structural adjustments, Kirchner instead embarked on a policy of “dis-indebtment,” making his nation ultimately independent of the IMF. Worker owned cooperatives and self-managed organizations have blossomed and income inequality has dropped. But upon hearing of Kirchner’s death, Douglas Smith, the head of Latin America research at Standard Chartered said “this is somewhat positive for the bonds and the economic outlook because it boosts the chance of the opposition, which is more fiscally responsible and market friendly.”

GUEST: Camila Blanco, a lawyer from Buenos Aires, worked at the Civil Association for Equality and Justice, currently working on her Master of Law at Yale University

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