Argentina’s former President Nestor Kirchner has died. The 60-year-old suffered a heart attack in the southern Argentine city of El Calafate. Kirchner had been holidaying with his wife, the country’s current President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, in the southern province when he was taken to hospital. The former leader had undergone an operation on his heart in September, according to the BBC, but his death has come as a shock to the nation nonetheless.
Nestor Kirchner served in office from 2003 to 2007 and was credited by many for lifting the country out of the financial crisis, which swept the nation in 2001. He will also be remembered for bringing to trial hundreds of people, who stood accused of abuses during the military dictatorship of 1976 to 1983, the Telegraph reports.
In 2007, Kirchner had stepped aside to let his wife become the Peronist party’s chosen presidential candidate. She won with a 45% majority – a 22% lead over her nearest rival. There was widespread speculation that Kirchner would once again run for President in the next election once Fernandez stepped down after the Argentinian two term limit.
Venezuela’s President Hugo Chavez was among the first to deliver his message of condolence, tweeting: “Oh my dear Cristina … how sad! What a huge loss suffered by Argentina and our America! May Kirchner live forever!”
While some mourn the loss of a good man, others are keen to make gains from the tragedy. Reuters reports that Argentine shares and bonds saw a significant rise following news of the death. Despite the market holiday in the country, investors immediately bid higher Argentine credit-related and equity-related assets trading in global markets.
Roberto Sanchez-Dahl, who oversees $1.1 billion in emerging market debt for Pittsburgh-based Federated Investment Management, commented: “Sincerely, for Argentina and from a market perspective there is nothing better than knowing that Kirchner will be out of the presidential race of next year. For years his confrontational, resentful style toward investors, companies and bond holdouts deprived Argentina of much-needed capital.”
The Prime Minister of Barbados David Thompson also died this week. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.
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