Polling shows Bachelet with a significant lead over her closest competitor, Evelyn Matthei. The two women share a history in Chile’s tragic past when the democratically elected Salvador Allende was overthrown in a bloody coup that the U.S. supported and helped to plan. Michelle Bachelet’s father, Gen. Alberto Bachelet, who was loyal to President Allende and the Chilean constitution and rule of law, was arrested by Augusto Pinochet on September 11 1973, the first 9/11. He was tortured while in prison by the junta and died in prison in 1974. Michelle Bachelet and her mother Angela Jeria were also arrested and imprisoned for two weeks before going into exile. Both had been tortured while in custody.
Evelyn Matthei’s family history was on the other side of the political spectrun. Her father, Fernando Matthei was commander in chief of the Chilean Air Force under Pinochet and part of the military dictatorship. Matthei’s party, the Independent Democratic Union is of course right wing. Bachelet, who had been Chile’s president previously from 2006 to 2010, hopes to now improve Chile’s education system and work on combating income inequality.
There are 9 contenders for the Chilean presidency. Of course Michelle Bachelet with the Socialist Party a center left party, Evelyn Matthei with the right wing Independent Democratic Union. Marcel Claude with the Humanist party, another center left. Marco Enriquez-Ominami with the Progressive Party. Ricardo Israel with the Regionalist Party of the Independents. Tomas Jocelyn-Holt Independent Liberal Party. Roxana Miranda Equality Party. Franco Parisi Independent. Alfredo Sfeir Green Ecologist Party.
The vote, set for Sunday, November 17, may herald in another inclusion of another left wing political leader to South America’s growing membership, which includes Nicolas Maduro (Venezuela), Jose Mujico (Uruguay), Ollanto Humala (Peru), Rafael Correa (Ecuador), Dilma Rousseff (Brazil) and Evo Morales (Bolivia).