Page last updated at 13:57 GMT, Sunday, 29 March 2009 14:57 UK

Guyana's first female leader dies

Janet Jagan
Janet Jagan participated in Guyana's independence struggle

Janet Jagan, the former president of Guyana, has died. She was 88.

Mrs Jagan - a lifelong communist - succeeded her husband Cheddi in 1997, winning an election triggered by his death while in office.

She led the South American country, her adopted home, for two years before stepping down due to ill health.

She was born in Chicago, into a middle class Jewish family, moving to the then British Guiana in 1943 where the Jagans founded the current ruling PPP party.

For a long time during the Cold War their political careers were undermined by the US and Britain before Mr Jagan's electoral victory in 1992.

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