Widely perceived to be the most developed and financially stable nation in South America, Chile is, for the most part, unaccustomed to critical analyses from the international press.
Therefore, following an article in the British publication “The Economist,” which delves into the problems and ineptitudes of the Chilean politics, many government officials rushed on the defensive.
“Progress and Discontent” considers a number of the key issues facing Chilean society, including education, economic inequality, and centralization of resources, arguing that “as Chileans become better off, they want their government to guarantee a fairer society.”
The article asserts its support for the neo liberal economic policy which has proliferated in Chile since Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s military dictatorship. However, the article also criticizes the conservative Alianza coalition and its leader President Sebastián Piñera.
“Mr. Piñera has proved to be an inept politician,” according to the article. “The government was slow to respond to the student protests. The president zigzagged between talking tough and giving in, undercutting his ministers in the process.”
The overt critique of the government has been met with polarized responses from politicians in Chile.
Opposition Socialist Party President Osvaldo Andrade said the critique corresponds with the majority opinion of the people of Chile.
Also from the opposition Party for Democracy (PPD) President Carolina Tohá took a more cautious stance.
“I do not take up those words because I can hardly occupy on the presidential image, but I share the view of substance, in the sense that here is a lack of expertise, especially arrogance,” Tohá said.
On the opposite end of the political spectrum, Felipe Sallaberry, a deputy in the Independent Democratic Union (UDI), told Radio Cooperativa that the article was “disrespectful.”
“[The article] uses words and concepts that we did not agree with, and which do not reflect the citizenship of Chile,” Sallaberry said.
By Struan Campbell Gray (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Copyright 2012 - The Santiago Times