Corazon Aquino Dead at 76

Former president restored democracy in the Philippines
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2009 4:28 PM CDT
Corazon Aquino is seen in a 2005 photo.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Corazon Aquino, former president of the Philippines, has died at 76, the Los Angeles Times reports. Aquino became Asia’s first female president, leading a “people power” movement that eventually toppled dictator Ferdinand Marcos in 1986—and arguably set off a wave of democratic revolutions that ended with the fall of the Berlin Wall and the end of the Soviet Union. Aquino was diagnosed with colon cancer last year.

Aquino, widow of an opposition leader killed in 1983 by Marcos’ forces, restored an independent judiciary, a free press and other democratic infrastructure lost during Marcos’ 20-year dictatorship. Her government was criticized for doing little to alleviate poverty or end the corruption and cronyism that perpetuates it, but she survived seven assassination attempts to preside over the first peaceful power transfer the country had seen in 26 years. (Read more obituary stories.)