Mrs. Corazon Aquino
Corazon Aquino campaigning for President of the Philippines in 1986.
Corazon Aquino was born into one of the wealthiest families in the Philippines, Mrs. Aquino began her political education by playing the dutiful wife as the political career of her husband, Benigno Aquino Jr., expanded. In less than 20 years he emerged as one of the chief potential rivals of Mr. Marcos, who was then president. When Mr. Marcos declared martial law in 1972, her husband was arrested and imprisoned for seven years. He was assassinated in 1983 after returning to the Philippines from a three-year exile in the United States. Mr. Marcos was widely blamed for the murder. It was at Mr. Aquino's funeral that Mrs. Aquino, became a national symbol, demonstrating the dignity and composure that would characterize her most difficult moments as president.
Mrs. Aquino came to power through what amounted to popular acclaim -- what the Philippino people called "people power" -- expressed by huge crowds that gathered in support of her. Her popularity reached its peak during her presidential campaign against Mr. Marcos in January 1986, when she was surrounded by enthusiastic crowds chanting, "Cory! Cory! Cory!'"
Her act of knocking down a dictator and bringing democracy to the Philippines was a high point in the country's modern history, and it offered a model for nonviolent uprisings that has been repeated often in other countries.
Mrs. Aquino, was often criticized as an indecisive and ineffectual leader. But she combined passivity and stubbornness and an unexpected shrewdness to hold firm against powerful opponents from both the right and the left, and one of her greatest accomplishments as president was fending off a half dozen coup attempts.
The restoration of democracy, and the transition to a new president, were Mrs. Aquino's prime legacies. Yet she led demonstrations against all 3 of her successors.
She died on July 31, 2009.