Sunday, January 15, 2006

Bachelet wins in Chile and the Catholic Church attacks Chavez's Venezuela

Reuters [Fiona Ortiz, "Chileans elect their first woman president," Jan 15, 2006] calls Michelle Bachelet's election Sunday "a victory that underscores the left's growing hold on Latin America."

Bachelet, 54, a medical doctor who was imprisoned and tortured during the 1973-1990 Augusto Pinochet dictatorship before living in exile in the former East Germany and Australia, will be the fourth consecutive president from the center-left alliance that has run Chile since 1990.

Political scientist Patricio Navia said women were crucial to Bachelet's victory since it was the first time in Chile that a majority of both sexes had voted for a leftist candidate. In the past Chilean women always voted more conservatively than men.

The second paragraph is intriguing as it's quite the reverse of the U.S. The article also said "Bachelet is expected to be a pragmatic leftist, following in the footsteps of popular outgoing President Ricardo Lagos." Here we are to understand that "pragmatic leftist" means properly centrist and respectable among refined people.

Meanwhile, in Venezuela the BBC reports [Greg Morsbach, "Venezuela head angry at cardinal," BBC News, 16 January 2006] that:
Cardinal Rosalio Castillo Lara, the most senior Catholic clergymen in Venezuela, told thousands of worshippers at a pilgrimage in honour of the Virgin Mary that the country had "lost its democratic course and presents the semblance of a dictatorship".


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