Argentina Mourns an Honest Leader





RIO DE JANEIRO — The lines of Argentines waiting to see the body of former President Raúl Alfonsín stretched for more than six city blocks in Buenos Aires last week. As day turned to night the lines only seemed to swell. Not even a rainstorm kept the public away....

Argentines, like most people, tend to worship their leading citizens more once they die. But that was only one reason Mr. Alfonsín, who steered Argentina from dictatorship to democracy but failed to right the economy, was remembered so well. The larger reason seems to be that Argentines today are weary of the insular, combative style of their current leaders, and were desperate to use Mr. Alfonsín’s death on Tuesday to send a message — that here, in contrast to today’s leaders, was a humble man who listened, who sought consensus, who didn’t steal.


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