Claude Cartaginese

The Dominoes Begin to Fall: Chile’s Leftists Lose Presidency After 52 Years in Power

Posted on January 18 2010 3:00 am
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Sebastian Pinera, Chile's New Right-Wing President

Leftists in Latin America are in trouble.

Costa Rica, Brazil, and Panama, for example, are all countries where the left has been defeated in recent elections or is in serious trouble. In Venezuela, Hugo Chávez’s approval ratings are down to an all-time low of 27%, and sinking almost as fast as Barack Obama’s. To add insult to injury, Latin Americans are no longer buying the leftist rhetoric. In a survey last month, a staggering 59 percent of Latin Americans surveyed agreed that a market economy is best for the future of the region.

And now, in the latest rejection of socialism, billionaire Sebastian Pinera has won Chile’s election, becoming the nation’s first democratically elected right-wing president in 52 years.

…a change will be good for Chile. It’s like opening the windows of your home to let fresh air come in. Better times are coming for Chile.

In Chile, Pinera’s promises to return to free-market principles have resonated with the people. After years of recession and failed socialist policies, Pinera, a Harvard-trained economist, has made it his goal to expand Chile’s economic growth 6 percent a year. Chile, which has the highest standard of living in Latin America, is one of the world’s largest producers of copper. After the socialist nationalization of the copper industry by a succession of leftist governments, billions of dollars in copper revenue were squandered in failed social programs.

This win should really rattle Chile’s socialist neighbors. Land-locked Bolivia, ruled by socialist and Chávez-wannabe Evo Morales, has been pressuring Chile to provide it with access to the sea for years. Chávez himself may soon feel the coming tide. Pinera will be no Chávez clone; he will be more like Colombia’s conservative President Alvaro Uribe, an outspoken critic of socialism and Chávez, and a friend of the United States.

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