Argentina has just elected Alberto Fernandez, the Peronist leader who promised to “renew the claim of sovereignty” over the Falklands if he were to get into power, sparking fears of another war over the archipelago. His running mate and now vice-president is Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner. A former president herself, from 2007 until she stepped down in 2015. She was also married to Nestor Kirchner, her predecessor. Both pushed for the UK to hand the Falkland Islands – known as Islas Malvinas in Spanish – to Argentina, believing it is land which rightfully belongs to South America.
Ms Kirchner also has some chilling comparisons with the former Argentine leaders who wanted to claim the Falklands back – Evita Peron in particular, the First Lady to President Juan Peron, founder of Peronism and populist dictator.
In an October 2019 episode of BBC Radio 4’s Our Own Correspondent Podcast: ‘A Modern Day Evita’, Katy Watson reported on how history has repeated itself with Mrs Kirchner.
Ms Watson said: “She is, to many, a modern day Eva Peron.
“Evita became far more famous than her husband. She used her position to improve the lives of poor Argentinians, but she was also hated by those who felt she was too powerful for First Lady.”
Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner and Evita Peron (Image: Getty)
Ms Kirchner celebrating Mr Fernandez's win (Image: Getty)
Mr Peron tried to buy the Falklands in 1953 from the British, when the acting president of the Argentine Senate Alberto Teisaire attended the Queen’s coronation. However, the New Times Times Archive from 1984 revealed he was told “the sale would cause the overthrow of the British Government” and “there would be a tremendous outcry from the public”.
Mr Peron also accepted a deal with the UK to share the Falklands in 1974, but he died suddenly, and the British did not trust his successor, who happened to be his third wife.
Both Ms Peron and Ms Kirchner rose to power through their husbands. Nestor Kirchner was president first for four years, before his wife took over for two more terms.