- In-Country Power
- International Power
- Military Strength
- Special Skill: Debt Defaulter
- Official Title: President
- Government: Established democracy
- Years Left in Office: To 2015; no re-election possible
- Political Classification: Center-left
- Education: MS, PhD in Law
- Age: 66 (born February 19, 1953)
Cristina Kirchner Facts and Information
- Cristina Kirchner is Argentina’s first elected female president.
- She has been president for two terms, and her second term ends in 2015.
- While she has been in office, same sex marriage became legal in Argentina which put it as the first Latin American country to do so and 10th in the world.
- She was married to former President Nestor Kirchner who passed away in 2010.
- The peso has lost a lot of value since she has been in office.
“Don’t cry for me Argentina!” was a song written in 1978 for the musical Evita based on the life of a famous female political figure in Argentine history, Eva Peron. However, Eva Peron is the old leading lady in the history of Argentina…the new star of this whole show is Cristina Elisabet Fernandez de Kirchner. Cristina, (as she is called by many Argentines, because they are cool like that and are on a first-named basis) was elected president of Argentina in 2007. She was born Cristina Elisabet Fernandez on February 19, 1953 in La Plata which is in Buenos Aires, a city in Argentina. She met her husband in 1975 in law school in La Plata and they got married. She became Cristina Elisabet Fernandez de Kirchner. In Latin American culture, when a woman gets married, she keeps her full maiden name, but adds the “de” and her husband’s last name. (The formula: First name, Middle Name, Maiden name + de + Husband’s last name). Now you may wonder why going in to detail about her husband’s name is important when we are talking about our little leading lady, well, this couple was no ordinary couple.
Cristina married Nestor Kirchner who in 2003 became the president of Argentina. Cristina. While Nestor was president, Cristina not only took to being First Lady, but she also took political power by becoming a senator in Argentina while her husband was in power. Not only was she able to support her husband as a wife, but she was able to support him politically. This was not the first time that they had worked together politically. In 1991 Nestor became governor of Santa Cruz and as governor; he had Cristina as his deputy. Being that both of these people had power, and they were a strong couple…they were fondly known in Argentina as their own “Power Couple”.
Power in this couple shifted when Nestor decided not to run for reelection in 2007, but supported Cristina in running for president in 2007. She has been the only person in Argentina who has held political office while running for a presidential election. She ran against Hilda Gonzalez who had also been a first lady in Argentina (her husband, Eduardo Duhlde). This rivalry was known as “The Wives Duel”. Cristina ran as the candidate of the Justicialist party (also known as the Peronist party). She won with 45% of the votes and won in October of 2007. She was officially in office in December of 2007 as the 55th president of Argentina. Fortunately, Nestor was able to see his wife go from First Lady to president of all 41 million people who live in Argentine. He passed away from a heart attack on October 28 2010.
Cristina Kirchner ran for reelection in 2011 and won, showing the world that not only as a woman could she become president, but she could do it TWICE. She has been on Forbes’ list of 25 most powerful women in the world a few times. This year, in 2014 she is number 19 at age 61. Since the start of her presidency, Kirchner has continued the policies that her husband started during his term. Cristina was the first female president to be elected, Evita Peron was also president of Argentina but she became president after being Vice President when her husband passed away.
As president, Cristina has changed a few things. One of the more well-known things that she has changed was that Argentina became the first country in Latin America to legalize same-sex marriage, also being the 10th country to do this in the world. Also under her term, she brought the Argentine economy up from its rough times in the early 2000s but there is still high inflation and poverty still exists in this country. She has also had conflicts with the agricultural sector in Argentina which is pretty powerful. She has also renewed contracts with the International Monetary Fund and also started to negotiate payments to cover Argentina’s debts to the Paris Club of Lender Nations. This is important because overall…Argentina is not doing so great, especially economically. This is to try to repair things. Argentina has tried to prevent depreciation from powering inflation expectations and interest rates have gone up. These wage negotiations will really show how serious Argentina’s government is about controlling spending.
About 100 years ago Argentina was rich…but it was not modern. The educational system was not great because everyone focused more on agricultural things than furthering education, which in turn would have helped Argentina with technology and advancing more. That being said, Argentina not being modern meant that any external shake ups were hard and it meant that it lacked institutions to create effective policies. World War I was when Argentina’s economy received its first blow and since then there has been an ongoing division between farmers and workers. And under what has been known as “The Kirchner Era” Argentina was the world’s fourth largest exporter of wheat in 2006 (Nestor’s time) but since then, in 2013 they dropped to number 10. Besides the wheat exportation numbers dropping, other things have gone downhill in Argentina, unfortunately due to the leadership under Cristina. In 2005 during her husband’s term, the GDP had a surplus of 2% and in 2013, under Cristina, it became about 2% deficit.
Poor Cristina has tried a few things to fix everything, but unfortunately they haven’t been fully effective. In 2011 she issued controls on how many pesos could be converted into dollars by citizens. This led to a pretty successful black market for currency transactions and made people lose faith in the government’s economic policies. The biggest problems in Argentina can be pinpointed to being inflation and insecurity. In January of 2014, the peso’s value went down by 15% in two days. She is also pretty decent friends with Hugo Chavez who is not exactly a big friend of the West. In the past he had an alliance with Nestor Kirchner which really did help their governments in hard times when Argentina was trying to recover from an economic collapse of a decade ago. Chavez has been at the front of the leftist and anti-American populist wave in that region. In 2012 when Chavez won his reelection Cristina stated that it was not only a victory for Hugo Chavez but also for Argentina, Chavez echoed that sentiment. The IMF…does not. The IMF does not have a great opinion of Argentina. It stopped really being of help to Argentina in 2001 when things were not going so well in Argentina. All of this has gone against Cristina in her hopes to change the constitution in order to be able to run for a third term, but being that most people do not believe that things will get any better until the next election and a new president, Cristina would not have really any high hopes of winning had she been able to run for a third term.
But, do not lose all faith in Cristina! In 2012 there was compensation for Pepsol which became nationalized (it is an oil company), new inflation data that was credible, and there were cuts in water and gas subsidies. Also it does not hurt to be friends with the Pope! Poor Cristina has been through a lot and in November of 2013 she had to go through cranial surgery to remove a blood clot that was on the surface of her brain (called the dura). Having been through that, she decided she was not going to sit back and become a lame duck, she wants to power through to the end of her term and try to get as much done as she can to turn things around even though the majority does not think she can do it. She also realized with the cranial surgery that she does not want to risk having the same fate as her late husband, and wants to make more time to spend with her family, which in the end really does make her just human. If someone does not put their health and loved ones first, before everything else, there are going to be problems in all the other aspects of their life. Hopefully this change will help Cristina until the end of her term!