In her final act as head of state, President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner unveiled a bust of her late husband and former President Néstor Kirchner in the Casa Rosada before addressing thousands of supporters, many from a Cámpora rally held earlier in the day, from the presidential palace’s balcony.
She was joined by Bolivian President Evo Morales as she presented the bust and paid homage to Néstor:
“He built a new Argentina from the ruins he inherited,” she said before naming him one of the “three musketeers” of socialism, we presume, along with Evo and Hugo Chávez.
The act was projected on giant screens outside the Casa Rosada for those who wished to witness Cristina close the last 12 years of Kirchnerism (and mark her territory one last time), with her final public presidential act.
The bust of Néstor Kirchner will be added to a gallery in the Hall of Honor that is on the Casa Rosada ground floor.
This is the third bust that Cristina inaugurates during her eight-year long presidency.
In 2008, she inaugurated sculptures of former President Héctor Cámpora (La Cámpora‘s namesake), who was briefly in power from May 25th to July 13th 1973 and Raúl Alfonsín, who was the first democratically elected President of Argentina after the dictatorship, serving from 1983 to 1989 and who began the justice and memory trials.
Néstor Kirchner’s death on October 27th 2010 was described by many as a great loss to Argentina. He is credited with pulling nearly a quarter of the population out of poverty and is considered to have kept the country’s dignity in its battle with the vulture funds. In fact, The Guardian compared his role in rescuing Argentina’s economy after the 1998 — 2002 crisis and his defiance of the IMF to that of Franklin D Roosevelt’s following the US’s Great Depression.
These are Cristina’s final hours as head of state following an official court order that will see President-elect Mauricio Macri begin his mandate at midnight tonight.