Based in London; Formerly of New York, Buenos Aires, Fife, and the Western Cape. Saoránach d'Éirinn.
A writer, blogger, historian, and web designer born in New York, educated in Argentina, Scotland, and South Africa, and now based in London. read more

Argentina Mourns an Honest Man

RAÚL ALFONSÍN WAS often a stumbling, bumbling leader when he served as President of the Argentine Republic but, in a country of rampant corruption and abuse, his personal integrity was unassailable. It was probably for that reason that Argentines came on to the streets of Buenos Aires in April to mourn the loss of, certainly not the greatest statesman of the country’s history, but at least something simple: an honest man. For more on the late president, see my piece over at

The former president’s remains lay in state in one of the halls of the Congress building in Buenos Aires.

His Grace, Bishop Justo Laguna blesses the corpse of President Alfonsín.

Former Brazilian president José Sarney paid his respects…

…as did former Argentine presidents Néstor Kirchner and Carlos Menem.

Thousands and thousands of Argentines waited in lines many blocks long to see Alfonsín for the last time.

His remains were then processed to the Recoleta cemetery.

The national flag flew at half-mast at the Casa Rosada.

Raúl Ricardo Alfonsín

This post was published on Tuesday, June 16th, 2009 8:01 pm. It has been categorised under Argentina and been tagged under , , .
Juan Novillo Astrada
26 May 2010 10:51 am

Dear Andrew,
I have been wondering about whether to right this comment or not because I think this article doesn’t match at all with the line of your very good blog.
I guess nobody commented this article because Raúl Alfonsín was one of the worst Argentina presidents ever. Not only in the economic area (hiperinflation, poverty, long etceteras) but more important, in moral aspects. He was an enemy of the Catholic Church and in this line he promoted the divorce law.
Furthermore, he was the head of the Unión Cívica Radical, a tradicional anticlerical political party.
I think we must not get mixed up with the amount of people that mourned him at his death. It was politically correct to do so since he was the epitome of the “fashionable” left in Argentina.
Finally, Mons. Laguna is not precisely the representative of conservatism.
All the best

23 Jun 2010 8:37 am

Dear Mr Cusack,
many of items commented by Mr. Novillo Astrada are certainly true. Alfonsín was -during his ruling years- an arrogant politician, leading a political party that -even nowadays- considers itself as the moral reserve of Argentina. Years and failures -among them, the Pact of Olivos- turned him into a tender old man dressed by a warm light feeded by his unconditional supporters and helped by his rural manners. Opponent of the Catholic Church? Yes, in extremis.
But people who mourned him at his death wasn’t politically correct or fashionable: I think that was an instinctive and desperate cry . . . the political class that survived him is such a gang of common criminals!

7 Aug 2010 3:39 pm

Alfonsin was a freemason too.

H J Vega
15 Feb 2014 2:37 pm

Since 1983, Argentina it’s been the materialization of that old muddy water’s song “like a rolling stone”. Alfonsin was… just an other contributor, and maybe a headchief for a few years of that “lie” called democracy.

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