And I'm a bit embarrassed about it. My wife had mentioned to me that she had read about the recent election returns in Chile. I just passed over it, assuming that the socialists were still in power. Boy was I wrong. A billionaire, conservative businessman, Sebastian Pinera, became the first candidate on the right to become president in Chile since Gen. Augosto Pinochet.
"But while President Michelle Bachelet tried to defuse border tensions with Peru and Bolivia and avoid antagonizing Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, Pinera's more nationalistic tone — and friendship with Colombia's conservative President Alvaro Uribe — could make relations difficult."
If politics in the Western hemisphere are of interest to you, then check out Jackson' Diehl's article in the Washington Post which goes into greater detail about the problems Hugo Chavez is having in Venezuela along with more pointed analysis about the election of Pinera.
"Venezuela is "not a democracy," Piñera said during his campaign. He also said, "Two great models have been shaped in Latin America: One of them led by people like Hugo Chávez in Venezuela, Castro in Cuba and Ortega in Nicaragua. . . . I definitely think the second model is best for Chile. And that's the model we are going to follow: democracy, rule of law, freedom of expression, alternation of power without caudillismo". Piñera was only stating the obvious -- but it was more than his Socialist predecessor, Michelle Bachelet, or Brazil's Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva has been willing to say openly. That silence hamstrung the Bush and the Obama administrations, which felt, rightly or wrongly, that they should not be alone in pointing out Chávez's assault on democracy. Piñera has now provided Washington an opportunity to raise its voice about Venezuelan human rights violations."
Great. Finally there is another voice on that conitnent besides embattled Alvaro Uribe (Colombia) that isnt afraid to speak out against a tin-pot dictator and to call a spade a spade. I can see Pinera's election as being a good thing for the region, leading to greater stability and freedoms for the oppressed.