AJC Mourns Passing of Former Argentine President Nestor Kirchner

Oct 27, 2010, 14:22 ET from American Jewish Committee

NEW YORK, Oct. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AJC mourns the passing of Nestor Kirchner, who served as president of Argentina from 2001-2007.

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"Together with the people of Argentina, we are profoundly saddened by the tragic loss of President Kirchner," said AJC Executive Director David Harris. "We extend our deepest condolences to his widow, President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, and to the nation he loved so profoundly. For AJC, we always valued his leadership and dedication. He was a good friend of our organization and of the Jewish people."

In his moving address to AJC's 2004 Annual Meeting in Washington, President Kirchner reaffirmed his personal commitment to investigate and bring to justice those responsible for the 1994 bombing of the AMIA Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. He also pledged to renew efforts to investigate Nazi war criminals residing in Argentina.

"We had the pleasure of meeting with President Nestor Kirchner on our regular visits to Buenos Aires, as well as during his trips to New York," said Harris.

"We valued his efforts to combat anti-Semitism in Argentina and to establish a credible process for investigating the terrorist attacks against his country. These laudable efforts will not fade with his passing – indeed, they continue under the leadership of President Fernandez de Kirchner – and will long be part of the proud legacy he leaves behind," said Harris.

"In that spirit, those of us from AJC who were present will long remember the image of this husband-and-wife team in the large crowd near the AMIA building to mark the tenth anniversary of the AMIA bombing. They chose not to go on stage and be in the limelight, but rather to stand quietly with the people as mourners among mourners."

In addition to helping to guide Argentina through an economic crisis, Kirchner enacted judicial measures which led to the trials of hundreds of dictatorship-era figures who previously had enjoyed political amnesty from their connection to the deaths of thousands of Argentine citizens.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends and compatriots," said Harris. "As we say in the Jewish tradition, may Nestor Kirchner's memory forever be for a blessing."


SOURCE American Jewish Committee