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The death of Néstor Kirchner: the intimacy of the last hours in El Calafate


The story of the only journalist who was in front of the house when the former president died. The admission to the shock room in the hospital and the pain of Cristina Kirchner

Nicolas Diana

10/26/2020 21:01

  • Clarí

  • Politics

Updated 10/26/2020 9:01 PM

Cristina Kirchner is standing at the foot of the bed inside the shock room of the José Formenti hospital, in El Calafate.

They have just confirmed the worst news of her life:

that Néstor Kirchner, her husband and lifelong partner, is dead.

The then president cries and takes his hands for the last time before the gaze and silence of the doctors who seconds before were trying to revive him.

During the terrible outcome, she was not alone: ​​she was escorted by her private secretaries, Isidro Bounine and Pablo Barreiro.

Also the doctor of the presidential unit, Benito Alen González,

the first to arrive at the Kirchner house ten years ago,

on Wednesday, October 27, 2010, when the former president decompensated.

Bounine and Barreiro were, along with Cristina, the direct witnesses of the effects of Kirchner's first heart attack a few minutes before 8 in the morning inside the family home in El Calafate.

At the hospital, the 16 doctors and three nurses who treated him during the last minutes were silent.

From 9.15am, the time when his death was ruled, until 9.50am, when Cristina decided to have the body of the former president taken to her home in El Calafate in an ambulance guarded by six presidential security vans, there were dramatic moments.

Kirchner's coffin in the Casa Rosada.

The swinging doors to the emergency room opened and closed.

Doctors came out and gave orders to the air.

Cristina, visibly beaten, said goodbye to her husband in the emergency room.

Outside the hospital,

the presidential custody was also despairing


"They can't take photos, they go 200 meters from here and don't break their balls," a custodian shouted at this chronicler.

A Gendarmerie van, which was at the scene, rushed out and smashed the door of a red Chevrolet Corsa that was parked in front of the hospital.

Everything was confusion.

Kirchner, who was then a central figure in politics, has just died at the age of 60.

The final minutes

It is 8.30 in the morning on Wednesday, October 27, 2010. There are just a few minutes before the death of Kirchner is decreed, with a brief medical report.

It is an atypical day in El Calafate: 9 degrees of temperature, bright sun and not a drop of wind.

Due to the Census, which was to take place that day, there is almost no movement in the streets.

A shot of Cristina Kirchner next to Kirchner's coffin in the Casa Rosada

In the front of the house of the then presidential couple,

the official custody begins to stir.

Suddenly the gate of the chalet opens and a desperate cry is heard from one of the former president's security



“Call the Chief of Police, it's urgent.

Hurry up, your mother's shell! ”He ordered an agent of the Santa Cruz Police who was on a patrol car parked on Los Tehuelches street.

"And cut these two, what the hell are they doing here?", He

orders looking at this chronicler and the photographer Eduardo Lerke who was accompanying me.

We had come to "the place in the world" of the President

four days before to investigate the new businesses of the Kirchners in the South and to stay and get to know the Alto Calafate hotel inside, today investigated by the Justice in the Hotesur case, but which at that time was just beginning to raise suspicions of corruption.

In addition, we had the objective of covering the census of the presidential marriage.

Because of Kirchner's death, they were never counted.

Florencia and Máximo Kirchner during their father's wake.

Minutes before 9 in the morning, when the door of the former president's house began to fill with police, gendarmes, prefects and presidential security agents, the least expected message arrived.

A man of the utmost intimacy from the K couple contacted this chronicler and left it without hesitation:

“Are you still in El Calafate?

Are you outside Cristina's house?

Kirchner died.

Go to the hospital now ”.

The small hospital was under siege.

There were vans and patrol cars of the Police, the Gendarmerie and the Federal Police and about 50 officers who did not let anyone pass.

Inside the place, the then director Marcelo Bravo, had called all the doctors and nurses on the campus, from cardiologists, therapists to kinesiologists.

Bravo worked in recovery together with Claudio Cirille, the doctor on duty who had given Kirchner the first care in his home, among other professionals.

Protesters during Kirchner's wake that went to the Casa Rosada.

Doctors deployed the protocol used for these cases.

They injected him with various drugs to try to revive him.

They intubated him, gave him IV,

tried adrenaline,

then tried atropine and other procedures.

They gave him heart massages, but the former president, who

was bare-chested and dressed in blue pajamas,

couldn't react.

They also sought to resuscitate him with a defibrillator.

But the device that records heart activity gave no signals.

In fact, some of the professionals who treated him maintain that Kirchner died at home when he had cardiac arrest and that all subsequent maneuvers were in vain.

At 9:50 a.m. on that Wednesday, October 27, a small and improvised funeral procession left the hospital and accompanied Kirchner to his home, which was already fenced off.

They did not let anyone get close to 300 meters around.

In one of the white vans of the custody was the then president.

One of the last photos of Kirchner with Cristina in Río Gallegos before traveling to El Calafate where he died on October 27, 2010.

Little by little, officials and leaders arrived at the place.

The first to enter the residence was the then governor of Santa Cuz Daniel Peralta.

Máximo Kirchner arrived accompanied by Rudy Ulloa in a 4x4 truck.

He was in Río Gallegos when he was told that his father had died.

Julio De Vido, his sister Alicia Kirchner and even the businessman and friend of former president Lazaro Báez also arrived:

"I am devastated, I loved him like a brother,"

he told


that day


The day before they had been in contact in El Calafate. 

Kirchner's health had been giving warning signs.

On September 11, a month and a half before his death, he had undergone an angioplasty for the obstruction of the coronary artery.

It was the second cardiac intervention in less than a year.

There is even a piece of information that reveals how aware he was of his situation.

A month before his death, after the stent, he had asked his friend Rudy Ulloa to start the procedures to buy a plot in the Río Gallegos cemetery.

The transaction was never completed.

Source: clarin

All news articles on 2020-10-27

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