7/18- Political Changes in Chile: Dictatorship/Democracy
Dr. Francisco Javier Díaz PhD in Political Science (University of Pittsburg)
Ex-assistant of President Michelle Bachelet
Today’s lecture was from the assistant policy maker and speech-writer of Michelle Bachelet and he was brilliant. Not only was he intelligent, clever and well spoken, he was funny and charismatic, making us feel like we were on the inside making the policies and tasting the government life. He gave us an emotional yet logical depiction of the strategies used to get his party into power with Michelle Bachelet at the head as the first woman to ever be presidenta (with an a) of Chile. He is now a Senior Fellow at CIEPLAN and continues to be a member of the Socialist Party. He was informative about his bias as he gave his presentation. We were informed that many Chileans, much like other democracies, don’t trust their politicians. Since the government has chanced so many times, even in the last 40 years with Allende up to 1973, then Pinochet as the military dictator and now to democracy with Pinera- Chileans have experienced a lot of turnover. His presentation covered how a woman, agnostic, divorced and single mom in a morally conservative country came out as the winner of the presidential elections in 2005. Through a very thorough campaign strategy, we could see how the party convinced Chileans to vote for her. The fact that she was “cool”, a mom, had been imprisoned and tortured by Pinochet’s military regime, and was a loving and caring pediatrician all helped her win. This presentation illuminated the many considerations that must be dealt with in a political campaign, especially with a distrustful public. Democracy seems to still be a tenuous idea to many in the system as many parties still exist and alternative views still persist among citizens, some of whom agreed with Allende and Pinochet ideals. What will happen in the future, no one knows. We do know that Bachelet focused on educational equity for Chilean citizens and that it is a huge piece of the puzzle to fix that will take multiple and cooperative efforts to accomplish.