Fernandez Makes History in Landslide Victory…

Argentine President Cristina Fernandez’s name will forever be etched in the history books after being re-elected to office Sunday in a landslide.

By winning with the widest victory margin in Argentina’s history, the 58-year-old leader becomes the first woman re-elected as president in Latin America.

Fernandez accounted for nearly 54 percent of the votes cast in Sunday’s election, with nearly 97 percent of polling stations reporting nationwide. Her nearest challenger received just under 17 percent.

“We need everyone to comprehend … that because of the popular will and this political decision, you can count on me to continue deepening this national project,” vowed Fernandez in her victory speeches, in her quest to keep spreading the wealth of the nation’s economic boom. “All I want is to keep collaborating … to keep Argentina growing. I want to keep changing history.”

Since Fernandez and her predecessor as president, her late husband Nestor Kirchner, first moved into Argentina’s presidential palace in 2003, the income gap between the country’s rich and poor has been reduced by nearly half. Meanwhile, Argentina’s real GDP has grown 94 percent—according to the International Monetary Fund’s numbers for 2002-2011—the fastest in the Western Hemisphere and about twice the rate of Brazil, reports economist Mark Weisbrot.

“The worst that people can be is small. In history, you always must be bigger still — more generous, more thoughtful, more thankful,” said Fernandez, who was recently named one of the most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine, while vowing to protect Argentina from outside threats or special interests.

“This woman isn’t moved by any interest. The only thing that moves her is profound love for the country. Of that I’m responsible,” Fernandez said.

Fernandez’s second four-year term will begin on December 10.

The World’s Most Powerful Latinas…

It’s a popular quote, “Behind every great man there stands a great woman.” But that isn’t always the case. Sometimes la mujer is standing front and center, wielding enormous power, especially when it comes to Latinas.

This year’s list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women, released by Forbes magazine, demonstrates the growing influence of Hispanic women across the globe, with several Latinas making the final roster.

This year’s highest-ranking Latina, 63-year-old Dilma Rousseff, Brazil’s President, who vaulted 92 spots from last year to come in at No. 3. Rousseff made international headlines when she was elected to lead Latin America’s largest economy last fall. Rousseff was the first female Chief of Staff under Brazil’s reformist president, Lula da Silva and many expected she’d succeed him in office. She’s now battling a rebellious National Congress that threatens to halt her agenda and the country’s economic boom.

The next Latina on the list: Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez, who moved up 51 spots to rank No. 17. Earlier this summer the 58-year-old Fernandez, Argentina’s first female president, announced she’ll run for a second four-year term. Under her leadership, the country’s economy sharply grew, pension and child welfare benefits increased and the poverty dropped. But her re-election campaign could face serious challenges due to the nation’s high inflation rates and opposition from the business and farming communities.

Supermodel Giselle Bundchen is the list’s third highest-ranking Latina. Bundchen moves up 12 spots to take the No. 60 spot. Considered the world’s most powerful supermodel, Bundchen has pocketed $45 million from modeling gigs, endorsement deals and independent business ventures this year. In fact, She’s reportedly close to adding “billionaire” to her resume. But she isn’t just a pretty face. She’s also a United Nations Environmental Goodwill Ambassador and has worked on an animated web series called “Gisele and the Green Team,” to highlight green issues to educate kids and adults.

Here’s a look at other Latinas making this year’s list:

#77: Spanish businesswoman Ana Patricia Boton, CEO, Santander UK
#86: Costa Rica’s President Laura Chinchilla
#93: Portuguese businesswoman Maria Ramos, CEO of South Africa’s Absa Group Banks

So who made the Top 5?

Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merckel topped the list #1 in part because of her popularity and efforts to reduce childhood obesity, according to Forbes. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton came in second, followed by Rousseff (#3), PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi (#4) and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Click here to see the complete list.

So which Latinas do you think should’ve made the cut? And who do you think will make the roster next year?