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Raul Alfonsin: Your memories

Supporters of Raul Alfonsin mourn his death
Mr Alfonsin was the first democratically elected president after military rule

Argentina's first president to be democratically elected after the "Dirty War" military dictatorship, Raul Alfonsin, has died of illness aged 82.

He had suffered from pneumonia and lung cancer and last appeared in public in October, when the current president unveiled a bust in his honour.

Here are some of your comments and memories.


I was 20 when I met Dr Alfonsin for the first time, in November 1982, he was a surprising man, all of us must thank him, because he is and was the father of democracy.
Eduardo Di Leo, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I never met him but I voted for him in the 1983 elections. That was the first time I ever voted in an election. I was very young and he thrilled me as he did thousands of Argentinian people. He was truly a democratic leader, no matter his many mistakes as a president. I'll always remember him with love and gratitude.
Raquel Varela, Reconquista, Argentina

Since he assumed the presidency, he defended human rights and with him, Argentinians began to believe in democracy again. His classical phrase "With democracy you heal, you teach and you eat" is still heard today. This is why today Argentina is in mourning. However, he is also remembered for his economic policies that drove the country to bankruptcy.
Lucio, Buenos Aires, Argentina

We, the Argentinian citizens are deeply hurt and grieving Dr Alfonsin's loss. He was "The Father of Democracy" to us. He will never be forgotten. My prayers are with his family.
Daniela, Buenos Aires, Argentina

He was and will be our Democracy's Father. He's an icon of politics in Argentina. He was an honest person, one of a few. We'll miss him too much.
Valeria, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I was born the last year of Alfonsin's administration, 1989, but consequent presidents have not made a bigger positive impression in Argentinian's minds. Alfonsin remains the best democratic president since the dictatorship, however his government ended, and for that, I respect him imensely. He came into office at a time when our country was broken and bleeding, and even though he couldn't control the crisis he did his best for the people. He managed to put to trial and incarcerate the worst criminals our country saw, and worked hard to heal the injuries in our society. I wish we had more politicians like him. He shall be missed.
Bell Demaria, Buenos Aires, Argentina

Argentinians will remember him as a true democrat. He laid the foundations of the republican system of government the country actually has. May he rest in peace.
Daniel M. Fernandez Sagaste, Ushuaia, Argentina

Alfonsin was more than a symbol of democracy. He was a symbol of justice for our country, because of his crusade against the genocide in Argentina under the military dictatorship, and he gave legitimacy to the Mothers of Plaza de Mayo in their fight for human rights. May he rest in peace.
Maria Nora Lupín, Bahia Blanca, Argentina

He was the last great leader our young democracy has had. His commitment to achieving consensus through public deliberation and respect for the institutions have built him a spot in history.
Gabriel, Cordoba, Argentina

He was the father of the new democracy, he fought for making a country worth of being proud. He is the exponent about what Argentina wanted and had to be to be. But basically, he was good man with honourable ideals. He deserves to be remembered in the hearts and minds or all Argentinians.

Ezequiel Grynberg, Buenos Aires, Argentina

I was only nine when he was elected president. He was 'my first president'. During the presidential campaign, he recited the preamble in each gathering, to remind us of our forgotten, disregarded Constitution and our rights, it was the first time in my life I heard it. His charisma, conviction and ideals made him become the man he was. We will mourn for him. May he rest in peace.
Cecilia, Buenos Aires, Argentina

He was, and indeed is, not only a political example, he does it as a high virtuous person who fought for democracy and institutions development not merely in Argentina for all Latin America also. A symbol of freedom and hope. He has not died, he still breathes in every dream and heartbeat.
Rodrigo, Argentina

I still remember that night, a couple of days before the 1983 presidential election, when Alfonsin held the campaign closing rally. Almost a million people gathered there. Although I was too young to cast a vote, I went there with my parents and sisters, just to hear the man with his message of change, hope and faith in democracy as an enabler of a better life for all Argentinians. Even with all the difficulties all of us had to endure during his presidency (many of them the result of poor decisions in a harsh context), I remember him trying to lead all Argentinians, without exclusions, towards a common goal and a better future. I still hope that someday we would have the chance to elect government (regardless their political party) that truly believes in democracy.
Francisco, San Juan, PR

I was one of the 'stolen children' in the dictatorship. The transition was not easy for me: I had to get used to another name, another birthday, everything. I still remember him receiving me in Olivos residence (the house of the President). I was a child, confused and sad. He was there, all time, sending me presents for my "true" birthday, sending me books with his handwriting that shaped who I am. The few times I saw him, I've felt I was in the front of a grandfather. He was not a great leader, he was also a good man, a generous and warm person. Thanks to Alfonsin, I recovered my name, my birthday and my history. He recovered the country from the political tragedy, division and hate, he gave us hope and the dream of a better country. With his vision, generosity and sense of love and duty, he guided our nation to democracy, to the values of freedom, rights and dialogue. I have a huge debt to him. We're all in different ways, the sons and daughters of Raul Alfonsin.
Oscar, London



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