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Elections in Chile


John Simkin
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CNN report today:

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) -- Chilean voters have elected their first female president, one-time political prisoner and socialist Michelle Bachelet.

Bachelet, who has also been a doctor and serves as defense minister for the outgoing government of President Ricardo Lagos, defeated billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera in a runoff Sunday.

With more than 99 percent of precincts reporting, she had 53.5 percent of the vote to Pinera's 46.5 percent.

"I want our government to be remembered as the government by everyone and for everyone," she said.

Airline and broadcasting tycoon Pinera conceded defeat as results showed Bachelet with a solid lead and he thanked Bachelet for "her triumph today."

But the man who studied economics at Harvard vowed the fight would go on.

"We will continue to be a firm and constructive opposition."

Bachelet spent five years in exile following the 1973 coup that bought Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power.

Her father, an air force general, was tortured and killed after the U.S.-backed coup, and Bachelet herself was tortured before being sent into exile in Australia.

"What I want, and have and will always work for, is to build a society in which what happened to me and so many Chileans can never be repeated," she said in a December campaign appearance.

Bachelet completed her training as a pediatrician in East Germany and served as health minister in Chile's center-left government before becoming defense minister.

The new president is an agnostic single mother in a male-dominated, overwhelmingly Catholic society where divorce was legalized less than a year ago.

"To have a woman president shows that we are a freer, more just, more diverse, more prosperous and more modern Chile," Lagos said.

In Washington, the White House congratulated Bachelet and praised Chilean voters "for their strong commitment to democracy."

"We have an excellent, long-standing relationship with Chile and look forward to working with the new president and her team," White House spokesman David Almacy said.

Bachelet's victory adds to a leftward shift in Latin American politics.

Leftists hold presidential power in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales -- a former coca farmer and union leader who promises to nationalize the country's natural gas industry -- is slated to take office January 22.

http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/01/15/chile.vote/

This is just another illustration of how CIA’s covert activities in Latin America have backfired. Michelle Bachelet's father was killed and she was tortured by the CIA backed government in the 1970s. Since the return to democracy, Chile, a deeply conservative country, has elected three left-wing governments into power.

As CNN point out, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela all have left-wing governments and Bolivia will follow later this month. The CIA is only partly to blame. Bush's neo-imperialism in the Middle East has reawakened Latin Americans to the history of American foreign policy.

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CNN report today:

SANTIAGO, Chile (CNN) -- Chilean voters have elected their first female president, one-time political prisoner and socialist Michelle Bachelet.

Bachelet, who has also been a doctor and serves as defense minister for the outgoing government of President Ricardo Lagos, defeated billionaire businessman Sebastian Pinera in a runoff Sunday.

With more than 99 percent of precincts reporting, she had 53.5 percent of the vote to Pinera's 46.5 percent.

"I want our government to be remembered as the government by everyone and for everyone," she said.

Airline and broadcasting tycoon Pinera conceded defeat as results showed Bachelet with a solid lead and he thanked Bachelet for "her triumph today."

But the man who studied economics at Harvard vowed the fight would go on.

"We will continue to be a firm and constructive opposition."

Bachelet spent five years in exile following the 1973 coup that bought Gen. Augusto Pinochet to power.

Her father, an air force general, was tortured and killed after the U.S.-backed coup, and Bachelet herself was tortured before being sent into exile in Australia.

"What I want, and have and will always work for, is to build a society in which what happened to me and so many Chileans can never be repeated," she said in a December campaign appearance.

Bachelet completed her training as a pediatrician in East Germany and served as health minister in Chile's center-left government before becoming defense minister.

The new president is an agnostic single mother in a male-dominated, overwhelmingly Catholic society where divorce was legalized less than a year ago.

"To have a woman president shows that we are a freer, more just, more diverse, more prosperous and more modern Chile," Lagos said.

In Washington, the White House congratulated Bachelet and praised Chilean voters "for their strong commitment to democracy."

"We have an excellent, long-standing relationship with Chile and look forward to working with the new president and her team," White House spokesman David Almacy said.

Bachelet's victory adds to a leftward shift in Latin American politics.

Leftists hold presidential power in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela.

Bolivian President-elect Evo Morales -- a former coca farmer and union leader who promises to nationalize the country's natural gas industry -- is slated to take office January 22.

http://edition.cnn.com/2006/WORLD/americas/01/15/chile.vote/

This is just another illustration of how CIA’s covert activities in Latin America have backfired. Michelle Bachelet's father was killed and she was tortured by the CIA backed government in the 1970s. Since the return to democracy, Chile, a deeply conservative country, has elected three left-wing governments into power.

As CNN point out, Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Venezuela all have left-wing governments and Bolivia will follow later this month. The CIA is only partly to blame. Bush's neo-imperialism in the Middle East has reawakened Latin Americans to the history of American foreign policy.

Yes, the nations of South America are moving to the left with great rapidity. Democracy in its purest form, ie.without scores of parasitic lobbyists, will ultimately reflect the wishes of the people. Chavez in Venezuela has been a shining example to the rest of the continent. I agree the Bush Government's reprehensible behavior has also been a factor.

Americans will probably be puzzled. Given that 60% of them get their information from Fox news, the majority have no idea what is going on in the world and the acrimony towards America which has been caused by successive American Governments, especially this one. These new Governments in South America will attempt to improve the lot of their citizens, beginning with basic services. The Bush Government has never governed in the interests of its people. Instead, it has fed them lies and distortions in order to keep them distracted while they have lined the pockets of their mega-rich supporters (and themselves). The hordes of stinking lobbyists, which have attached themselves to the American body politic like a malignant cancer, ensure that Government policy exclusively favors the wealthy elites and punishes the less well off for being poor.

It's an amusing irony that these South American countries are going to teach the USA a lesson in how to run a democracy.

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