New Ideology and New Faces in Latin America
A woman, indeed, a single mother, is the new President, of Chile! As we have previously reported, Latin America is emerging as a new economic power. It is also emerging as a new source of vibrant political ideas, energized by history, and a populace that is sensitive to social issues.
The election of the new president of Chile, illustrates this emerging new type of political leader in Latin America. Michelle Bachelet, a woman, seems to have beaten all of the odds.
- She had little money and rang against a wealthy established politician.
- She is a single mother, in a nation that values family. Yet, even though the unmarried mother, she carried the vote both among women and men.
- She was elected in a nation normally dominated by men.
- She is agnostic, and yet carried the vast religious, Catholic oriented population.
- She has never held an elected office, yet, In a nation that loves heated political debate, she is known to communicate in a humble, smiling friendly manner.
Bachelet lived in the USA in the 1960’s and she was shocked by the racial segregation of the United States, she was further shocked when John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Political assassination is simply not something that she expected to see in the USA. When she returned to her homeland, Chile, her father was jailed, tortured and killed in prison by the Pinoche dictatorship. She and her mother were subjected to torture and interrogations and finally she left Chile again, in exile. She returned to Chile, and now has three children by two former relationships and finished medical school and largely raised her children by herself. She became nationally known as the Minister of health, and later the leader of the defense ministry.
She has become a symbol for the people of Chile. An independent woman, who has suffered, seen her family tortured, and has raised three children while developing a remarkable career, always standing against totalitarianism and bigotry. In her victory speech she promised to be: “A president for all women and all men, to aid those who have fallen behind, and to lead a new style of politics, with more dialogue and participation.”
Andrea Insunza, co-author of “Bachelet” The Unofficial Story” a biography of Ms Bachelet, said: “Michelle Bachelet belongs to the generation that suffered most after the coup. Her election represents the triumph of the defeated people of our history.”
Latin American politics are “sizzling” with new ideas, and new leadership. Perhaps Ms. Bachelet, will someday congratulate other women, Presidents, who will follow her example, in Latin America, in Asia, and even in the U.S.A.!