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Janet Jagan dies at 88

Janet Jagan, a Chicago nursing student who became Guyana's first white and first female president decades after immigrating to the region, died Saturday. She was 88.Jagan died at the country's state-run Georgetown Public Hospital of an abdominal aneurysm, according to government officials.In 1963, Time magazine called her "the most controversial woman in South American politics since Eva Peron," partly because she was a "strident Marxist" who many believed was the "brains and backbone" behind her husband's leftist government.Her husband, Cheddi Jagan, a Guyanese descendant of Indian immigrant sugar-plantation workers, was premier of what was then British Guiana."I'm an activist," she told the magazine, denying that she was overly influential. "People either hate me to infinity or love me to death."She was a 77-year-old recent widow when she succeeded her husband as the country's president in 1997. On his deathbed, he reportedly asked her to "carry on." (via
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