Chile Leans Communist
Chile, one of the few remaining bastions of freedom in Latin America, is in danger of going communist.
A coalition of communists and socialists led by the one time East German resident Michelle Bachelet are favorites to win the next election.
From the People’s World:
On Sunday, Nov.17, Chileans voted for president, both houses of Congress and some local offices. To nobody’s surprise, the left “New Majority” coalition and the Socialist and Communist parties made significant advances. With 46.67 percent of the vote, the New Majority presidential candidate, Michelle Bachelet, of the Socialist Party, will have a runoff against right wing candidate Evelyn Matthei, who got 25.01 percent of the vote, on December 15. The electoral result is a clear repudiation of the right wing policies of outgoing president Sebastian Piñera, a close U.S. ally.
Socialist Michelle Bachelet was president from 2006 to 2010, elected then as the candidate of the Concertacion, a left-center coalition formed after the end of the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet Ugarte. This time Bachelet ran as the candidate of the New Majority coalition, which, for the first time, included the Chilean Communist Party (CPC).
Bachelet is the daughter of a Chilean Air Force general who had refused to support the Sept. 11 1973 military coup d’état that overthrew the socialist government of President Salvador Allende Gossens.
The candidate of the right wing Alliance for Chile coalition was Evelyn Matthei, also the daughter of a general, but one who supported the Pinochet coup. Mrs. Matthei herself also had made statements in favor of the Pinochet dictatorship, albeit some years ago.
The seven other presidential candidates, whose voting support Bachelet must now pick up to win the runoff, are mostly left and left-center figures. They include Marco Enriquez-Ominami, of the PRO/If You Want it, Chile Changes party, who got 10.98 percent; independent candidate Franco Parisi, who got 10.11 percent, and five others. This makes it highly likely that Bachelet will win the runoff; she can tap into these votes whereas Matthei does not have a big extra fund of right wing votes at her disposal.
In the Congress, the left also advanced to a 55.3 percent majority in the Senate and 56.6 percent in the Chamber of Deputies (the lower house).
The Communist Party, which held 3 seats in the outgoing lower house, has evidently doubled its representation with the election of six deputies. One of the newly elected deputies is Camila Vallejo, the former student leader and head of the Young Communist Chile, who played a major leadership role in the street protests demanding educational reform. Another Communist elected on Sunday is Vallejo’s successor as head of the Chilean Communist youth, Karol Cariola. The president of the Communist Party, Guillermo Tellier, also won a seat.
The election of Bachelet with a cooperative legislature and a left-center program… will nevertheless have profound implications not only for the Chilean working class, but for Western Hemisphere politics and beyond.
Can the US afford to lose yet another friend?
Can the West afford to lose Chile – one of the most strategically situated nations in the world?
The encirclement rolls on.