Cristina Fernandez, married with President Nestor Kirchner, preferred to call herself First Citizen rather than First Lady. Then in 2007, she was elected President in her own right. She now held the power in Argentina.
When she was inaugurated, she said: “I know it will be harder for me because I am a woman. One can be a worker, a professional, or entrepreneur, but it’s always more difficult for us. I’m convinced of that. But I believe I have the strength to do this.”
The couple came from the south: her a senator, him a provincial governor. She had a reputation of being better at politics than he was. They were among the foremost members of the Peronist Justicialist Party.
She helped her husband win the national presidency in 2003, when Argentina was still on its knees from a financial hell it had been through. Kirchner proposed neo-Keynesian policies, halfway between social democracy and social liberalism. Tabbed “Kirchnerism”, this slowly nudged the country back towards growth and confidence.
The couple were as united in politics as they were in conjugal life. They’d met at law school. Kirchner’s sudden death in 2010 shocked the country, shattered Cristina.
She was fiercely independent over her image. Nobody told her how to look or behave.
She lost popularity going head to head with the powerful agricultural sector. It fought her policy of higher taxation on exports.
She was reelected in 2011. Among her notable achievements, she passed Argentina’s gay marriage law, and ended impunity from prosecution for crimes against humanity committed during the military dictatorship.
On the international stage, President Cristina Fernandez led her country as Latin America turned politically left, generally, and at the same time she got Argentina into the G20.
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