Just a few months ago, Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez was re-elected for another four years in office at age 58. Yesterday, she underwent a procedure to deal with her ongoing battle with thyroid cancer. To be more specific, Fernandez has papillary carcinoma and was diagnosed right before Christmas during a regular check up.
As you can imagine, her thyroid cancer diagnosis garnered much sympathy in Argentina where people still remember Evita Peron, wife of prior President Juan Peron. Evita made a lasting impact on her people when she passed away from uterine cancer too soon at the age of 33. Fernandez bears some similarities to Peron, in that she has spent a great deal of energy trying to help the poor people of her nation.
There is mixed feelings about Fernandez’s leadership in Argentina. She is quite popular among those who benefit from her programs that spend on welfare, while business leaders argue that her ways detract from getting outside investment. Coincidently or not, she is not the only Latin American leader to be diagnosed with cancer. Just last year, Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez received chemotherapy treatments for his cancer, and argued that the United States empire has figured out a way to give cancer to its political adversaries. Fernando Lugo, President of Paraguay, is now in remission from lymphatic cancer while Luiz Inacio da Silva, the former leader of Brazil was treated for a tumor found in his larynx.
This is just another tough chapter in the life of Fernandez, who in 2010 dealt with the death of her husband, Nestor Kirchner, the former President of Argentina. Many people gathered on Wednesday and held a vigil in her honor, holding up signs that said “Strength Cristina”. Fernandez is being treated at a hospital in the city of Pilar, roughly 30 miles from Buenos Aires, the country’s capital.
The good news is that her doctors believe she has a 90% chance of making a full recovery, however Vice President Amado Boudou will be taking over the helm while the President is on a twenty day leave.