Posts Tagged ‘Michelle Bachelet’

Chile: Bachelet in Washington

Sunday, August 10th, 2014

bachelet[Translation of an article from Punto Final of Santiago for July 11, 2014. See original here and related articles here and here.]

By Álvaro Ramis

The president’s recent visit to the United States allows us to analyze the relations between the world’s leading power and our country in the context of the awakening of Latin American consciousness in defense of its sovereignty and in pursuit of integration. Michelle Bachelet showed up for her appointment in the Oval Office of the White House at an especially delicate time in the relations between the United States and Latin America. It is not trivial to stress this aspect of it. It is not just the countries of ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América — Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) that are currently in a state of open tension with the Obama administration. The differences also encompass countries like Brazil, affected by the policies of economic spying on its strategic enterprises, and Argentina, which finds itself attacked by the recent United States court ruling barring it from settling its credit commitments if it does not agree at the same time to pay the so-called “vulture funds” a sum greater than 13 billion dollars, which threatens its long-term stability. In the midst of all these serious contradictions, the relations between Chile and the United States may seem like a minor consideration. But Chile’s unique position gives it a strategic role in the eyes of Washington. When Obama called Bachelet his “second favorite Michelle,” after his wife, he was not exaggerating. The United States has few friends left in Latin America and those that remain are there more from obligation or duress than from conviction. Within that framework, Chile wants to be the pretty girl playing hard to get. Chilean diplomacy, led by Minister Heraldo Muñoz, has termed the strategy “convergence in diversity.” An elegant way of declaring that in strategic disputes Chile is not going to fall in line but will pursue its own interests, in a pragmatic way. That is the official position but is it the reality? (more…)

Chilean students prepare for 2014: “We want a response on our own terms”

Wednesday, January 1st, 2014

a3 xx[Translation of an article from El Clarín of Santiago, Chile, for December 26, 2013. See original here and related articles here, here and here.]

By Paula Correa

Before the presidential runoff, the students made it clear that neither of the two candidates represented them and that, beyond who won the election, the only guarantee they could see for going forward as a movement lay in mobilization and the pressure they could generate.

Melissa Sepúlveda, president of the Federación de Estudiantes de la Universidad de Chile (FECH), stressed the differences between president elect Michelle Bachelet’s platform and the demands the students have been making since 2011. “We have been emphatic in revealing the existence of profound differences, at a programatic level, with the Nueva Mayoría. We see that they mention only the end of profit making in institutions that receive resources from the state and, for us, since it is a social right, there can be no room at all for profit in education. Profiting has to end at all levels of education. What we want is a response on our own terms to the demands that the student movement has made,” she said. (more…)

Chile: Cambridge professor José Gabriel Palma on Bachelet’s second term

Wednesday, December 25th, 2013

x Michelle_Bachelet“Small changes with nothing changed”

[Translation of an article from Página/12 of Buenos Aires for December 20, 2013. See original here.]

There is more and more activism on the streets of Chile. Analyst José Gabriel Palma wonders how long president elect Bachelet can “continue to appease the demands with this ‘gatopardismo .’”

By Marcelo Justo

The runoff was the easy, predictable part. Now Michelle Bachelet’s problems begin. Surveys show that an overwhelming majority of the people want deep changes to a model that for a while was the wonder of the world but that is now a disappointment to Chileans themselves. The constitutional legacy of dictator Augusto Pinochet is hampering their aspirations decisively. Despite her sizable victory at the polls, she does not have the majority in the Senate she needs to bring about a profound transformation. Página/12 spoke by telephone with José Gabriel Palma, a Chilean professor of economics at the University of Cambridge, who is in his country keeping track of political developments. (more…)

The governments of Latin America after Chávez

Monday, May 6th, 2013

[Translation of an opinion piece from La Jornada of Mexico City for May 5, 2013. See original here.]

By Guillermo Almeyra

From the point of view of governments and institutions, the changes in Latin America brought about by the death of Hugo Chávez are important but not fundamental. The Venezuelan revolutionary process is weaker and its adversaries are therefore stronger, but if the leadership of the state and of the PSUV (Partido Socialista Unido de Venezuela) are determined, with the support of their bases, to radicalize and deepen transformation of the country, if they reduce waste and improve somewhat the distribution of food and goods, social change could take a new leap forward, since the current moderate recovery in consumption and production in the United States, Venezuela’s principal market, gives certain stability to the price of oil.

This is the basis, on the other hand, of the security offered by the Maduro administration to Cuba, ALBA (Alianza Bolivariana para los Pueblos de Nuestra América — Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America) and the Caribbean against the uproar of the Venezuelan Right about the “giveaway” of oil and financial support to Venezuela’s allies and against the same concessions of this kind that the right-wing Chavistas want to make to the anti-Chavista Right. At the same time, in Brazil, with next year’s elections impending, the Right does not seem to have either a clear candidate or the possibility of winning; the economy is somewhat better and the government enjoys the support of the transnationals, agribusiness and domestic large-scale capital, to which it has made considerable concessions, and it does not face strong social protests. (more…)