Monday, August 29, 2011

Piñera and the right

If you want to understand the conservative response to the protests and strikes in Chile, then check out this editorial at Investor's Business Daily.  It is a U.S. publication, but I think can usefully serve as a proxy for the Chilean right as well.  It is written by someone who seemed to have gone to sleep around 1982, then suddenly woke up in 2011 and thought Ronald Reagan was alive and the Cold War was still going on.  The bottom line is that Santiago is Berkeley, and the Chilean protests are led by Communists who want to destroy everything that is good.  Absurd, yes. But believed by many.

The editorial's lesson: never have dialogue with anyone.  (I am not making that up.)  If the Chilean right believes this sufficiently, then it may well erode the right's already shaky confidence in Sebastián Piñera thought perhaps he could pick up support from the center.


Juan Cristobal 9:09 AM  

A less cantankerous interpretation of the Editorial is that many in the right are angry at Piñera's refusal to defend a system that may have its warts, but one which many believe has served Chile well. Piñera is in trouble with his base, and without getting them back in the fold, he won't succeed in appealing to the center.

Greg Weeks 10:02 AM  

The problem, though, is that the right believes that merely having dialogue is traitorous. I don't see any evidence that Piñera is not fully defending the system.

Otto 10:13 AM  

The IBD is the worst rag in Biznews and by quite a long way. It was founded by a guy that left the WSJ because it was too liberal for his tastes (I kid thee not on that) and makes Mary Nasty O'Grady look pinko.

Sadly, GW is right to call this an attitude fairly common amongst the Chilean trad ruling classes.

Mungowitz 1:42 PM  

I'm with Juan C. here. The "don't dialogue" admonition was in the context of an illegal strike. It's a much narrower context.

Greg Weeks 3:54 PM  

I still disagree. To me, the tone sounded like refusing to have dialogue no matter what context because the right believes that the demands are unreasonable even in the absence of strikes.

Andy Daitsman 6:41 PM  

The context is actually much broader than a simple two-day strike, legal or not. Rather, Chile is in the midst of a five-month rebellion against an increasingly vicious move to privatize public education, and the student movement has already scored notable gains -- such as the forced resignation of right-wing presidential hopeful Joaquin Lavin from the Ministry of Education. From the initial rejection of corrupt privatization of education, the student movement has expanded into broader goals, taking on the legacies of the Pinochet dictatorship that have contributed to an income inequality ranking among the worst in Latin America.

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