Ruevalparaiso: Chile´s president elect Michelle Bachelet

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Chile´s president elect Michelle Bachelet


In an interview for the Jim Lehrer´s program Newshour in Pbs Michelle Bachelet, Chile's new president-elect, speaks about her experience during the 1973 coup led by former dictator Augusto Pinochet and her goals as the country’s first female president.

JIM LEHRER: Finally tonight, the newly-elected president of Chile, Michelle Bachelet. She is a pediatrician, a socialist and a former minister of health and defense.

Her father, an air force general, was tortured and died in prison. He had been in the government of Salvador Allende, which was overthrown in a 1973 coup led by Augusto Pinochet. Michelle Bachelet and her mother were also imprisoned and tortured.

ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: Welcome to the program, and congratulations.

MICHELLE BACHELET: Thank you very much. I'm very pleased to be here with you today.

ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: In your speech, in your victory speech you said, "Because I was the victim of hate, I've consecrated my life to turning hate into understanding, tolerance, and why not say it -- love."

As president, what policies will you follow to promote this kind of understanding and tolerance between those who tortured and killed in the past and those who were tortured, like you?

MICHELLE BACHELET: Well, I won't begin this now. I started it when I was minister of defense, and I will be doing it wherever I am until the day I will die.

It's the idea of how we're able to build bases in our society where tolerance, understanding of diversity, integration and not discrimination will be the main policies.

When I'm speaking of love, when I'm speaking of reversing hate, I'm speaking not only of reconciliation - even I don't use that word -- I use another word in Spanish, that's called "reencuentro"-- it's not reconciliation.

ELIZABETH FARNSWORTH: It's more a re-coming together would you say?

MICHELLE BACHELET: Yes. It's something like that because "reconciliation" is when somebody -- it's related to forgiveness -- and that's very individual. Some people forgive, some people does not.

So that's why I say -- but let's use reconciliation -- we will have to continue advancing in reconciliation between people who were victims and their families and people who were responsible for that.

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