Sunday, July 7, 2013

Getting to Democracy

Martin Pengelly at The Guardian recently called attention to a Wall Street Journal editorial which states:

"Egyptians would be lucky if their new ruling generals turn out to be in the mold of Chile's Augusto Pinochet, who took power amid chaos but hired free-market reformers and midwifed a transition to democracy."

Pengelly asks if the WSJ can get away with such advocacy for brutal dictatorship.  Of course, they can.

Meanwhile, back in Chile the current front-runner in the 2013 presidential election race is Michelle Bachelet who was previously the country's president from 2006 to 2010.  Bachelet, her mother and her father were all imprisoned and tortured by the Pinochet regime along with thousands of other Chileans.

During the first Bachelet presidency, the country made great strides in economic equality, education and public health.  Bachelet, a medical doctor, speaks Spanish, English, Portuguese, German and French.  Prior to winning the presidency, she served as Chile's Defense Minister and Health Minister.  After leaving the presidency, Bachelet became the first executive director of the United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women.

Bachelet's presidency of Chile overlapped the second term of George W. Bush who spoke English as if it were his second language, and who led his country into the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression.

Bush's successor, Obama, has managed to squander whatever good will he built up during the run-up to his election, and is quite likely now held in lower esteem throughout Latin America than was Bush.

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