BUENOS AIRES, Argentina -- BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (AP) — Argentine President Cristina Fernandez faces an election Sunday that is sure to open a fierce struggle over her remaining power, and her aides say she's not even watching the news.
Fernandez, 60, has been secluded in the presidential residence, recovering from skull surgery in the run-up to congressional elections that will decide how much control she'll have over Argentine politics during the final two years of her presidency.
Polls suggest the ruling Front for Victory party will lose ground in both houses, burying the idea that she'll win the super-majority necessary to change the constitution and enable re-election to a third straight term.
After more hospital tests on Wednesday, her doctors said she must avoid anything stressful and rest until Nov. 8 at least. Since the blood on her brain was discovered on Oct. 6, she's been absent from a campaign where she had been the main attraction for slates of ruling party candidates.
But Interior and Transport Minister Florencio Randazzo said she wasn't even told this week about the latest train crash that injured nearly 100 passengers and is causing new headaches for the government. "The president doesn't know about what happened," he said. "I don't think it would contribute to her recovery to learn about the episode."
Some polling suggests the ruling Front for Victory party, known as the FPV, and its allies will barely hold onto their majority in the lower house and are at greater risk of losing it in the Senate.
She needs a majority in each house to reach a quorum and push through her agenda, and the ruling party has already lost some sure votes in the current Congress. Of 257 seats in the Chamber of Deputies, the FPV has 115 official seats, but can depend on only 109 or 110 votes from its own party members, which together with allies provides her with the total she needs.
In the current Senate, the FPV has 32 seats, and can count on other allies for a total of 38 votes, barely more than the 37 needed for a majority in the 72-member chamber.
If it's clear that Fernandez will not be able to stay in power beyond this term, the scene in the always fractious Peronist party that dominates Argentine politics would become much more volatile, said Mariel Fornoni, director of the Management & Fit consultancy. "It remains to be seen what will happen with the ruling party's allies, who could begin to move to the other side," she said.
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Born in Havana in 1853, Martí is Cuba’s national hero. As an intellectual and a poet he <a href="http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/historyofthecaribbean/p/josemarti.htm">fervently opposed Spanish rule on the island, consistently writing against the crown. </a>At the age of 16, he was convicted of treason and sedition for supporting the rebels during the Ten Years’ War (1868-1878) in Cuba. Afterwards, Martí was exiled twice -- living in Spain and later in the United States -- where he continued to dream of a free Cuba. Abroad, he attempted to muster support for the independence cause among Cuban exiles. In 1884 Martí and a relatively small group of Cuban exiles made their way to Cuba to start a revolution, an initiative that led to his death during one of the first confrontations with Spanish authorities on the island. Cuba did not attain independence from Spain until the Spanish-American War of 1898, nevertheless, Martí is upheld today as the nation’s most revered hero. Picture of the Monument to Jose Marti, a Cuban national hero, at Revolution Square in Havana, taken on February 8, 2008. (ADALBERTO ROQUE/AFP/Getty Images)
Simón Bolívar and José de San Martín
“El Libertador” (The Liberator), as General Simón Bolívar is commonly known, was born in Caracas, New Granada, to a wealthy family. Though educated in Spain, Bolívar firmly believed in the South American independence movement. <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/simon-bolivar-241196">He is credited with successfully liberating modern day Venezuela, Ecuador, Colombia, Panama, and Bolivia (named after the General), through his military campaigns.</a> After achieving independence, Bolívar intended to unite a still ideologically divided continent but was later accused of wanting to replace the Spanish crown with a military dictatorship of his own. On Dec. 17, 1830 the regional hero died of tuberculosis in Santa Marta, Colombia. During the wars of Independence in South America, <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/jos%C3%A9-de-san-mart%C3%ADn-37154">José de San Martín was an Argentine general that helped liberate Argentina, Chile, and Peru.</a> He is famously known for venturing across the Andes from Argentina to Chile to fight and free the countries from Spain. San Martín is still revered today in much of the Southern Cone as a national hero. On July 26, 1822 the two generals met in Guayaquil (then an independent state), but what they discussed there is still unknown. Bolívar took power over the newly freed nations and <a href="http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/521474/Jose-de-San-Martin/6398/Campaign-across-the-Andes">San Martín, avoiding further political involvement, spent the rest of his days as an exile in Europe with his daughter. </a> He died in Boulogne-sur-Mer in 1850. Image: Depicted is the first and only time the two leaders met in Guayaquil; Los Padres de la Independencia (The Fathers of Independence).
Ernesto "Che" Guevara
Born on June 14, 1928, Guevara is perhaps one of the most controversial figures of recent Latin American history. Born in Rosario, Argentina, the young asthmatic boy became an amateur athlete and <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/che-guevara-9322774">studied medicine in Buenos Aires.</a> After graduating, Guevara and his best friend Alberto Granado set off on a journey across South America which Che studiously documented in his personal diary, and which was immortalized in <a href="http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0318462/">Walter Salle’s “The Motorcycle Diaries.” (2004)</a> The people he met and the conditions he observed on this journey were the catalyst to the Marxist beliefs that led him to join Fidel Castro in the overthrow of the Batista regime in Cuba. After Castro took power, Guevara tried to export his revolutionary ideas, <a href="http://www.lanacion.com.ar/1515647-che-guevara">leading a guerrilla movement in Bolivia that would result in his assassination on Oct. 9, 1967.</a> Though many revere him as a cultural hero -- a revolutionary fighting for social equality and a Latin America free from imperialistic influences -- <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/che-guevara-9322774">others remember the ruthless man that executed between 156 and 550 prisoners in Cuba without trial.</a>
Born on Aug. 13, 1926, Castro was raised in an affluent family amid the poverty of the Cuban people. He studied law at the University of Havana where he became involved in anti-imperialist and socialist movements. After several unsuccessful attempts at overthrowing Fulgencio Batista’s dictatorship -- along with his younger brother Raúl, and Ernesto “Che” Guevara<a href="http://www.biography.com/people/fidel-castro-9241487?page=2">, Castro led the guerrilla's overthrow of the dictator in 1959</a>. Once in power, Castro embraced Marxism, establishing Cuba's Communist government that continues to stand today under Raúl’s rule. In this March 22, 1959, file photo, Fidel Castro, then Cuba's Prime Minister, salutes the crowd at a labor rally supporting him in Havana. (AP Photo/File)
Born on Aug. 8, 1879, Zapata was a sharecropper and a horse trainer in Mexico under Porfirio Díaz’s regime. Zapata was also a community leader at the time and was the first to join Francisco I. Madero in attempting to overthrow Díaz. <a href="http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/thehistoryofmexico/p/planofayala.htm">He campaigned for agrarian reform, denouncing the feudal-like system in place at the time</a>. Once in power, Madera turned his back on Zapata, who then wrote his <a href="http://latinamericanhistory.about.com/od/thehistoryofmexico/p/planofayala.htm">Plan of Ayala</a> to denounce Madera. The Plan is a manifesto of what the Zapatismo movement's ideals -- land reform and freedom. <a href="http://www.mexconnect.com/articles/316-emiliano-zapata-1879-1919">Leading his followers, Zapata fought with the cry “Tierra y Libertad” (Land and Liberty).</a> By the time of his assassination in 1919, the lands confiscated under Díaz had yet to be fully restored. The Zapatista movement lives on today. In January 1994 the Zapatista Army of National Liberation (EZLN) re-launched the initiative for land and agrarian reform in Mexico. <em><strong>CORRECTION: a previous version of this slide incorrectly stated Emiliano Zapata's birth year as 1979. Zapata was born in 1879. </strong></em> Photo: Two children carry banners of Mexican revolutionary leader Emiliano Zapata during a march of peasants against the economic model of Mexican President Felipe Calderon in Mexico City, on January 30, 2009. (LUIS ACOSTA/AFP/Getty Images)
José Doroteo Arango Arámbula was born on June 5, 1878. The Mexican revolutionary is best known as Francisco Villa or Pancho Villa and <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/pancho-villa-9518733">became a fugitive after he shot a man who was harassing his sister.</a> While living as an outlaw, Villa joined Francisco Madero’s uprising against the Porfirio Díaz regime. He became a colonel and defended Madero’s government until he too was removed from power by an uprising. Later he joined forces with revolutionary Emiliano Zapata against Victoriano Huerta’s government. Villa was assassinated on June 20, 1923.
Born on November 19, 1919, Lebrón moved from Puerto Rico to New York in 1940 searching for a better life. What she found was poverty, prejudice and the <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/01/AR2010080103400_2.html">unhappy life of a seamstress</a>. Soon after she began corresponding with Puerto Rican nationalist and intellectual Pedro Albizu Campos -- who was imprisoned for plotting against U.S. President Truman in 1950. Hero or Terrorist? In 1954, Lebrón <a href="http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,2008889,00.html">led a Puerto Rican nationalist group into the U.S. Capitol building</a>, shooting and injuring five Congressmen in an attempt to gain Puerto Rico’s Independence. Once taken into custody, <a href="http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/08/01/AR2010080103400_2.html">police found a note in her purse. </a>Expecting to die that day, Lebrón wrote: "My life I give for the freedom of my country. The United States of America are betraying the sacred principles of mankind in their continuous subjugation of my country." For the attack Lebrón was sentenced to 56 years of prison, but was released on the 25th year of her sentence. She continued fighting for her ideals until her death on August 1, 2010. Photo: Capitol police hold Lolita Lebrón and two others in custody on March 1, 1954, after they opened fire from the House gallery.
Dr. Pedro Albizu Campos
Born on September 12, 1891, <a href="http://www.nl.edu/academics/cas/ace/resources/campos.cfm">Campos is known as the leader of the Puerto Rican independence movement.</a> The Spanish American War of 1898 had interrupted Puerto Rico's recently instituted autonomy from the Spanish crown, becoming a territory of the United States. Governed by officials named in Washington and with little voice in local affairs, nationalists like Albizu Campos fought to make their country an independent nation. His efforts towards independence frequently placed him behind bars both in Puerto Rico and United States. He is best <a href="http://www.historynet.com/president-harry-s-truman-survived-assassination-attempt-at-the-blair-house.htm">known for a failed assassination attempt against President Harry S. Truman.</a> He died on April 21, 1965.
Under his pseudonym and always appearing behind a black mask, Subcomandante Marcos conceals his identity as he continues Emiliano Zapata’s agrarian reform fight in Mexico. In January 1994, <a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2006/01/06/international/americas/06mexico.html?_r=2&sq=zapatistas%20marcos&st=cse&scp=4&pagewanted=all&">the mysterious figure and the Zapatista National Liberation Army (EZLN) revitalized Zapata’s movement in Chiapas</a>, a poor state in southern Mexico. Railing against President Vicente Fox’s neoliberal policies, the Zapatistas brought national and international attention to the indigenous communities living in the area. Known for his prophetic speeches, good humor, and pipe,<a href="http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/americas/1214676.stm"> Marcos has become for many a new kind of “Che” -- a leader of the people against repressive powers.</a> Some believe he is in fact Rafael Sebastián Guillén, a 43-year-old native of Tamaulipas who taught philosophy at the National Autonomous University in Mexico City before moving to Chiapas to work with Indigenous communities. Marcos insists on wearing the mask until the conflict is resolved.
Born on March 31, 1927 in Arizona, Chávez is recognized as one of the leaders of the <a href="http://www.albany.edu/jmmh/vol3/chicano/chicano.html">Mexican American Civil Rights Movement</a> in the United States (also known as the Chicano Movement), which took off in the 1960s. Using non-violent forms of protest -- marches, hunger strikes, boycotts -- Chávez <a href="http://www.biography.com/people/cesar-chavez-9245781">fought to improve working conditions for farm workers.</a> These efforts led the Mexican-American civil rights leader to help found the National Farm Workers Association, which later became the United Farm Workers. The labor leader's many hunger strikes are thought to have contributed to an early death in 1993. On Oct. 8, 2012, <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/obama-cesar-chavez-child-labor_n_1949157.html?utm_hp_ref=mostpopular">President Barack Obama honored Chávez with a National Monument in California.</a> In this March 8, 1989 file photo, César Chávez gestures as he speaks during a news conference in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Alan Greth, File)