Latin America’s First Woman President

A continent renowned for its supposed machismo seems about to get its first female president, Michelle Bachelet. This in itself is interesting, but equally interesting is the divide that can be seen across the continent between a more or less pragmatic group of politicians – Bachelet herself, Kirchner in Argentina, Lula in Brazil, or, to take a name not widely mentioned, Medellin’s new mayor Sergio Fajardo Valderrama, and the more “mediatic” group – Hugo Chavez, Evo Morales and Commandante Marcos.

“Although originally from the hard-leftwing of Chile’s Socialist party, Ms Bachelet is expected to pursue broadly the same mixed economy policies as President Ricardo Lagos. She would inherit sound public finances and an economy that grew by more than 6 per cent last year. Mr Piñera is also an economic moderate, unlikely to change significantly the direction of Latin America’s most successful economy.”

Of course, my explanation for this very striking differential can be found here.

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About Edward Hugh

Edward 'the bonobo is a Catalan economist of British extraction. After being born, brought-up and educated in the United Kingdom, Edward subsequently settled in Barcelona where he has now lived for over 15 years. As a consequence Edward considers himself to be "Catalan by adoption". He has also to some extent been "adopted by Catalonia", since throughout the current economic crisis he has been a constant voice on TV, radio and in the press arguing in favor of the need for some kind of internal devaluation if Spain wants to stay inside the Euro. By inclination he is a macro economist, but his obsession with trying to understand the economic impact of demographic changes has often taken him far from home, off and away from the more tranquil and placid pastures of the dismal science, into the bracken and thicket of demography, anthropology, biology, sociology and systems theory. All of which has lead him to ask himself whether Thomas Wolfe was not in fact right when he asserted that the fact of the matter is "you can never go home again".

6 thoughts on “Latin America’s First Woman President

  1. Ok, ok, as I often say, I am slow sometimes :).

    It should read first elected President. Maria Estela Isabel Martinez de Peron was briefly interim president of Argentina, but was never elected.

  2. Violeta Chamorro was first, as far as I can tell. Even Janet Jagan of Guyana was earlier.

  3. Actually, Janet Jagan was sworn to the
    presidency of Guyana in Dec, 19, 1997 –
    that would make her the 2nd in “Latin”
    America (Guyana is English speaking).
    She retired due to illness in 1999.
    That makes Michelle Bachellet really the
    2nd female prez in South America, and the
    3rd in All of Latin America.


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