Nancy Lange Kuczynski, a woman with a low profile

Nancy Lange Kuczynski, a woman with a low profile

Written by Alejandro Cavero Alva for El Comercio
Translated by Natasha Clay

PPK has said that his wife will not have an official office and that all her activities will be financed by her own resources. What’s her story?

Nancy Lange is always shown discreetly behind her husband, supporting him from the side lines, never seeking to be the center of attention. She doesn’t like to talk to the press and in general does not interact with the political scene of her husband. She is described as having a different profile than what we have become accustom to in recent years.

Despite these features, the next First lady of Peru, Nancy Ann Lange Kuczynski, had a much more leading role in this election’s campaign than that of 2011. This time she was introduced to militant work and created her own page on Facebook where she launched the Chambeando por el Perú program. Through it, she devoted herself to traveling through different regions and popular areas, publicizing Peruanos Por el Kambio government social plans.

Council members of the near future president consider her a serious and smart person just like her husband. They are sure that’s why they had instant chemistry. She met PPK while he was living in the United States and she became his second wife. Both have a daughter, Suzanne, who just turned 18 years old and studies Medicine in the U.S.

Her support has always been fundamental for PPK. She was a key piece to his decision to run again for presidency. In fact, that’s how Kuczynski made her aware of her importance through a photograph of them hugging each other after the June 5 triumph. “Thanks also to you, dear Nancy, for joining me with your strength, intelligence and affection,” said PPK’s dedication.

nancy
(Illustration: Ví­ctor Aguilar Rúa)

Nancy Kuczynski was born in the rural town of Rock Springs, two hours from the city of Madison, capital of Wisconsin, tells PPK’s brother, Miguel Kuczynski. With a population of 362 inhabitants and a density of 103 people per km2, powered by the manufacturing industry, Rock Springs is obviously not a big city.

Nancy Lange, however, did not decide to stay in her hometown. She graduated with an MBA from the Management School at the University of Wisconsin and spent a few years living in India and Japan. In Peru she worked advising pension funds.

Coming from a family of immigrants who came from Europe to America in the mid-nineteenth century, Nancy Lange has two brothers and a younger sister. One is a computer expert, another is an engineer and the third a nurse. Among other family members is her cousin, the famous actress Jessica Lange, winner of two Oscars, one being for best supporting actress for her role in the movie “Tootsie”.

PPK has stated that his wife will not have official office and that all her activities should be financed from her own resources. Nonetheless, he said that Nancy Lange has a special concern for the neglected children of Peru and the absence of an office will not stop the eagerness of the future First Lady to continue working.

The origin of the term

The position and title of First Lady was coined in the US in 1877 under President Rutherford Hayes, when the press called his wife, Lucy Webb, “the first lady of the land”. Subsequently, the influence of the figure of the president’s spouse extended to other parts of the world and especially to Latin America. While in the US, for example, one of the official duties of first lady is to choose the china for the White House, this has not prevented some from playing an important political and media role. This was the case, for example, with Jacqueline Kennedy, Nancy Reagan and Hillary Clinton, who is now a presidential candidate for the U.S.

In Peru, the first ladies have an important political vocation like Cristina Ferní¡ndez de Kirchner, who will replace her husband in office, or Eva Peron, who is a leader of Peronism even today. In Peru the political influence of Nadine Heredia over president Ollanta Humala was harshly criticized by the press and the media, just as Eliane Karp during the administration of Alejandro Toledo. Even the prominent role that the second wife of ex president Feranando Belaunde, Violeta Correa, remains a matter of debate among historians. Others like Pilar Nores – ex wife of former president Alan Garcí­a – or Nilda Jara Gallegos, widow of former President Valentí­n Paniagua, exercised a role of lower profile.

The Nadine Heredia Factor

Political analyst Fernando Tuesta, believes the profile of Nancy Lange will, unlike our current first lady, be much more discreet. “I think anyone would take care after the history of Nadine Heredia. Nancy Kuczynski is a person who has not been engaged politically, at most she will eventually accompany her husband. She won’t move from a more traditional style,” he says.

Political scientist Luis Nunes coincides with Tuesta. “I know Nancy and I think that she will show a lower, more discreet, more supportive profile.” He adds that her interest would be more social. “I’ve accompanied Nancy in some districts, she a very cordial person and receptive of the reality of Peru. I think more interested and supportive in social causes. To improve the living conditions of women and children, are the things which I have seen her with greater sensitivity,” he says.

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