Monday, July 29, 2013

Chilean Presidential Campaign Narrative

The November presidential election has already been framed in the U.S. press. It is the daughter of an air force general in the junta versus the daughter of an air force general who was tortured and died in prison in opposition to the junta. By any measure it is a powerful and evocative narrative, emblematic of a past that Chile constantly deals with.

I tend to think, however, that this narrative will be much more prevalent outside Chile than within it. Scanning the headlines of papers from different ideological strands shows a lot of focus on unity within the right, but also education, health, and other issues that affect the bottom line for Chileans (and which at times have sparked protests). There is nothing about the air force generals.

There is no bad blood between the candidates, no personal animosity, and not much incentive for Michelle Bachelet to use her father in the campaign (Evelyn Matthei can only lose bringing up hers, and has already said it is irrelevant). Human rights and the legacy of dictatorship are real public policy concerns, but there are many others as well that I think will end up taking precedence in the campaign.


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