Respected, but not Loved

Following the sudden death of her husband, President Cristina Kirchner [Argentina] is carrying forward the family empire. Since she has been in power by herself, she has presented herself in a more conciliatory manner and has moderated her arrogant tone.

Oehrlein, Josef (from Buenos Aires). "Respected, but not Loved." Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, Online Edition,, 24 October 2011.

Translation from the original German-language text to American English is provided by Alex Herzog, Boulder, CO. Editing by Dr. Nancy A. Herzog.

The reelected President, holding a photo of her deceased husband.

In some ways it wasn’t really an election, since her political opponents had destroyed themselves earlier through unprecedented public attacks. President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner thus did not have a serious challenger. The election result that confirmed another term in office for her was second only to the records set by Juan Perón, and the best since [the country’s] return to 1983.Actually, her husband Néstor should be holding the office, but since his sudden death a year ago, she must carry forward the family empire.

During the 2007 election, Kirchner had actually let his wife run instead of standing as a candidate for reelection. Still, during that presidency she had little room to maneuver, because he continued to pull the strings behind the scenes and forced her to take a confrontational course toward actual or assumed opponents. His quarrelsomeness eventually turned against himself and finally wore him down. During the year when Mrs. Kirchner governed by herself, she presented herself in a more conciliatory manner and, finally, even forgiving toward earlier adversaries, while also moderating her arrogant tone.

Cristina Elisabet Fernández de Kirchner was born on February 19, 1953 near La Plata, the capital city of Buenos Aires Province. Her father was an entrepreneur in bus transportation. Her mother, who is still living, is a descendant of Volga German immigrants. In 1976, at the beginning of the military dictatorship, she and her husband, whom she had met during law school, moved to the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, Néstor Kirchner’s home province. There the couple operated a law firm, and their earnings from real estate transactions formed the basis for their private fortune, which at this point has been officially declared to amount to thirteen million Euros.

At the beginning of his career, Néstor Kirchner was the mayor of the capital city Rio Gallegos, and from 1991 on he served for twelve years as governor of his province. Meanwhile, Cristina Kirchner was gaining political experience as representative and then as senator in the national Congress. The economic boom that Argentina enjoyed following a long crisis contributed to the Kirchner couple’s firming up and even expanding their power despite a number of setbacks. This made it possible for them to finance certain social programs, which provided them with considerable sympathies among the poorer population. Neither poor decisions nor scandals have yet to harm Mrs. Kirchner.

Recruiting her People from a Youth Organization

The people of her country respect her, but they do not love her. Thus far, her children, 34-year-old Máximo and 21-year-old Florencia, have not been openly involved in politics. However, the son, has used the “Kirchnerian” youth organization “La Cámpora” to steer young politicians toward the government camp. It appears that Mrs. Kirchner aims to draw on this reservoir to help her form her policies during the next four years. In Amado Boudou, her current minister of economics, the President, who is always careful to present an attractive and well-kept exterior appearance, now has a youthful-appearing deputy.

Our appreciation is extended to Alex Herzog for translating and to Dr. Nancy A. Herzog for editing this article.

Permission to use any images from the GRHC website may be requested by contacting Michael M. Miller