A great pictures exhibition of former Argentine president Nestor Kirchner to be opened on Tuesday in Montevideo's Town Hall has triggered strong criticisms from the opposition which claims there was no request to the elected councilors for such an event, which is sponsored by the Argentine embassy.
Kirchner because of the long standing conflict with the previous government of former president Tabare Vazquez over the construction of a pulp mill on the shared River Uruguay, has become one of the most rejected foreign politicians for the Uruguayan public opinion according to repeated polls.
Nestor Kirchner, Man of the Motherland is the name of the exhibit with huge pictures of the former leader who was president of Argentina from May 2003 to December 2007, and who died of a heart attack in October 2010.
The official opening scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at Montevideo's Town Hall will be inaugurated by Mayor Ana Olivera, who belongs to the ruling coalition, and Argentine ambassador in Uruguay, Dante Dovena.
If the mayor had consulted about the event, most probably we would have said it was not prudent to pay homage to someone who only recently died, said Councilor Tulio Tartaglia from the opposition Colorado Party. He added we would have liked to see an exhibition of former Argentine presidents that included Ricardo Alfsonsín, a leader who effectively challenged the Argentine dictatorship.
The exhibit is but a wink to Cristina Fernández, whom as we all know she and her attitudes are not popular with Uruguayans, said Tartaglia.
Alvaro Viviano from the opposition National party said that given the bilateral conflict which had Kirchner as the main figure means there should have been a consensus on the person involved.
Yes, he was an influential figure, but a consensus of how, when and where, should have been the prudent path.
Tabare Vazquez who was president at the time and is again running for next October's general election in Uruguay revealed that the situation with Kirchner over the pulp mill was at some point so serious, that he even contacted US president George Bush to request support because of the risks of an armed conflict in the border over the disputed pulp mill.
The exhibition is a collection of huge pictures, over a hundred that depict different moments of the life of the former president and will be open until 2 May.
It's a chronological tour with images of the former leader as a child, his infancy, adolescence, and then in politics: as mayor of Rio Gallegos, then three times governor of the Santa Cruz province until he became president in 2003.
The invitation from the Argentine embassy states that the exhibit is ”a fresco of the (Argentine) historic process that begins with the first Peronism to our days, through the biography of who was first a witness of events, then active militant and finally protagonist”.
The material belongs to the Historic Archive from the Santa Cruz province and includes documents belonging to the family, to the Rio Gallegos municipal archive; to the photo archive from the newspaper La Opinion Austral and the magazine Tesis and the Argentine presidency Photographic archive.