Former Argentine president Fernando de la Rua, whose term culminated in the country’s record sovereign debt default, died at the age of 81 on Tuesday, July 9th, after falling ill with heart problems.
According to Reuters, Argentina’s President Mauricio Macri expressed his condolences to the late politician’s family, saying the ex-president was “a well-intentioned leader”.
De la Rua, who served from 1999 to 2001, was forced to leave office before completing his first term as Argentina witnessed growing discontent over high unemployment and the worst ever economic recession that set off bank runs and deadly street riots.
Under the rallying cry “away with them all”, over 30 people were killed in the rioting, including five in and around the Plaza de Mayo in central Buenos Aires, scene of violent clashes in the final days of de la Rua’s presidency.
Failing to stop the riots, his government resigned; De la Rua responded by declaring a state of emergency on December 19th, 2001, fleeing the presidential palace in downtown Buenos Aires in a military helicopter.
After quitting the presidency de la Rua was bounded by many legal cases and also faced allegations linked to a Senate bribery scandal.
Thanks to a cheap peso and booming demand for its agricultural exports, Argentina’s economy gradually recovered.