Michelle Bachelet

Michelle Bachelet
Michelle Bachelet
1st Executive Director of UN Women
Assumed office
14 September 2010
Preceded by Inaugural
President of Chile
In office
11 March 2006 – 11 March 2010
Preceded by Ricardo Lagos
Succeeded by Sebastián Piñera
Minister of National Defense
In office
7 January 2002 – 1 October 2004
Preceded by Mario Fernández
Succeeded by Jaime Ravinet
Minister of Health
In office
11 March 2000 – 7 January 2002
Preceded by Álex Figueroa
Succeeded by Osvaldo Artaza
President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations
In office
23 May 2008 – 10 August 2009
Preceded by Position established
Succeeded by Rafael Correa
Personal details
Born 29 September 1951 (1951-09-29) (age 60)
Santiago, Chile
Political party Socialist Party
Alma mater University of Chile
Profession Paediatric epidemiologist
Religion None (agnostic)

Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (Spanish pronunciation: [miˈtʃel βatʃeˈlet]; born September 29, 1951) is a Social Democrat politician who was President of Chile from 11 March 2006 to 11 March 2010. She was the first woman president of her country. In September 2010 Bachelet was appointed as the head of UN Women by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.

Bachelet won the 2006 presidential election in a runoff, beating center-right businessman and former senator Sebastián Piñera (who eventually succeeded Bachelet as President) with 53.5% of the vote. She campaigned on a platform of continuing Chile's free-market policies, while increasing social benefits to help reduce the gap between rich and poor.[1]

Bachelet, a pediatrician and epidemiologist with studies in military strategy, served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under her predecessor, President Ricardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and describes herself as an agnostic.[2] As well as her native Spanish, she speaks English, German, Portuguese and French, with varying levels of fluency.[3]


Family background

Bachelet is the second child of archaeologist Ángela Jeria Gómez and Air Force Brigadier General Alberto Bachelet Martínez. Her paternal great-great-grandfather, Louis-Joseph Bachelet Lapierre, was a French wine merchant from Chassagne-Montrachet who emigrated to Chile with his Parisian wife, Françoise Jeanne Beault, in 1860 hired as a wine-making expert by the Subercaseaux vineyards in southern Santiago. Bachelet Lapierre's son, Germán—Michelle Bachelet's great-grandfather—was born in Santiago, Chile, in 1862, and married in 1891 to Luisa Brandt Cadot, a Chilean of French-Swiss origin, giving birth in 1894 to Michelle Bachelet's grandfather Alberto Bachelet Brandt. Her maternal great-grandfather, Máximo Jeria Chacón, of alleged Greek heritage, was the first person to receive a degree in agronomic engineering in Chile and founded several agronomy schools in the country.[4] He married Lely Johnson, the daughter of an English physician working in Chile. Their son, Máximo Jeria Johnson, married Angela Gómez Zamora. Their union produced five children, the fourth of whom became Michelle Bachelet's mother.[5]

Early life and career

Childhood years

Bachelet was born in Santiago, and spent many of her childhood years traveling around her native Chile, moving with her family from one military base to another. She lived and attended primary school in Quintero, Cerro Moreno, Antofagasta and San Bernardo. In 1962 she moved with her family to the United States, where her father was assigned to the military mission at the Chilean Embassy in Washington, DC, USA. Her family lived for almost two years in Bethesda, Maryland, where she attended Western Junior High School (now Westland Middle School) and learned to speak English fluently.[6] Returning to Chile in 1964, she graduated from high school in 1969 at Liceo Nº 1 Javiera Carrera, a prestigious girls' public school, finishing near the top of her class.[7][8] There she was president of her class, a member of the school's choir and volleyball teams, and part of a theater group and a music band called Las Clap Clap which she helped found, that toured around several school festivals. She entered medical school at the University of Chile in 1970, after obtaining one of the highest national scores in the university admission test.[7][8] She originally wanted to study sociology or economics, but was prevailed upon by her father to study medicine instead.[9] She has said she opted for medicine because it was "a concrete way of helping people cope with pain" and "a way to contribute to improve health in Chile."[3]

Torture and exile

Facing growing food shortages, the government of Salvador Allende placed Bachelet's father in charge of the Food Distribution Office. When General Augusto Pinochet came to power in the 11 September 1973 coup, General Bachelet, refusing exile, was detained at the Air War Academy under charges of treason. Following months of daily torture at Santiago's Public Prison on 12 March 1974, he suffered a cardiac arrest that resulted in his death. On 10 January 1975, Bachelet and her mother were detained at their apartment by two DINA agents, who blindfolded them and drove them to Villa Grimaldi, a notorious secret detention center in Santiago, where they were separated and submitted to interrogation and torture.[10] Some days later they were transferred to Cuatro Álamos ("Four Poplars") detention center, where they were held until the end of January. Later in 1975, thanks to sympathetic connections in the military, both were exiled to Australia, where Bachelet's older brother Alberto had moved in 1969.[7]

In May 1975, Bachelet left Australia and later moved to East Germany, to an apartment assigned to her by the German Democratic Republic (GDR) government in Am Stern, Potsdam; her mother joined her a month later, living separately in Leipzig. In October 1976 she began working at a communal clinic in the Babelsberg neighborhood, as a preparation step to continue her medical studies at an East German university. During this period she met architect Jorge Leopoldo Dávalos Cartes, another Chilean exile, whom she married in 1977. In January 1978 she went to Leipzig to learn German at the Karl Marx University's Herder Institute (now the University of Leipzig). Her first child with Dávalos, Jorge Alberto Sebastián, was born there in June 1978. She returned to Potsdam in September 1978 to continue her medical studies at the Humboldt University of Berlin for two years. Five months after enrolling as a student, however, she obtained authorization to return to her country.[11]

Return to Chile

In February 1979, Bachelet returned to Chile from East Germany. Her medical school credits from the GDR were not transferred, forcing her to resume her studies from where she had left off before fleeing the country.[citation needed] She graduated as M.D. on January 7, 1983.[12] She wished to work in the public sector wherever attention was most needed, applying for a position as general practitioner; her petition was, however, rejected by the military government on "political grounds."[3] Instead, because of her academic performance and published papers, she earned a scholarship to specialize in pediatrics and public health at Roberto del Río Children's Hospital (1983–1986). During this time she also worked at PIDEE (Protection of Children Injured by States of Emergency Foundation), a non-governmental organization helping children of the tortured and missing in Santiago and Chillán. She was head of the foundation's Medical Department between 1986 and 1990. Some time after her second child with Dávalos, Francisca Valentina, was born in February 1984, she and her husband legally separated. Between 1985 and 1987, Bachelet had a romantic relationship with Alex Vojkovic Trier,[13] an engineer and spokesman for the Manuel Rodríguez Patriotic Front, an armed group which among other activities attempted to assassinate Pinochet in 1986. This affair turned into a minor issue during her presidential campaign, during which she argued that she never supported any of Vojkovic's activities.[4]

In 1990, after democracy was restored in Chile, Bachelet worked for the Ministry of Health's West Santiago Health Service and was a consultant for the Pan-American Health Organization, the World Health Organization and the German Corporation for Technical Cooperation. While working for the National AIDS Commission (Conasida) she became romantically involved with Aníbal Hernán Henríquez Marich, a fellow physician—and right-wing Pinochet supporter—who fathered her third child, Sofía Catalina, in December 1992; their relationship ended, however, a few years later. Between March 1994 and July 1997, Bachelet worked as Senior Assistant to the Deputy Health Minister. Driven by an interest in civil-military relations, in 1996 Bachelet began studies in military strategy at the National Academy of Political and Strategic Studies (ANEPE) in Chile, obtaining first place in her class.[3] Her student achievement earned her a presidential scholarship, permitting her to continue her studies in the United States at the Inter-American Defense College in Washington, D.C., completing a Continental Defense Course in 1998. That same year she returned to Chile to work for the Defense Ministry as Senior Assistant to the Defense Minister. She subsequently graduated from a Master's program in military science at the Chilean Army's War Academy.

Political life

Involvement in politics

In her first year as a university student (1970), Bachelet became a member of the Socialist Youth (then presided by future deputy and later disappeared physician Carlos Lorca, who has been cited as her political mentor[14]), and was an active supporter of the Popular Unity. In the immediate aftermath of the coup, she and her mother worked as couriers for the underground Socialist Party directorate that was trying to organize a resistance movement; eventually almost all of them were captured and disappeared.[15] Following her return from exile she became politically active during the second half of the 1980s, fighting —though not on the front line—for the re-establishment of democracy in Chile.[citation needed] In 1995 she became part of the party's Central Committee, and from 1998 until 2000 she was an active member of the Political Commission.

In 1996 Bachelet ran against future presidential adversary Joaquín Lavín for the mayorship of Las Condes, a wealthy Santiago suburb and a right-wing stronghold. Lavín won the 22-candidate election with nearly 78% of the vote, while she finished fourth with 2.35%. At the 1999 presidential primary of the Concert of Parties for Democracy (CPD), Chile's governing coalition from 1990 to 2010, she worked for Ricardo Lagos's nomination, heading the Santiago electoral zone.

Work as minister

Bachelet, as Minister of Defense, meeting with U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in 2002

On March 11, 2000 Bachelet—virtually unknown at the time—was appointed Minister of Health by President Ricardo Lagos. She began an in-depth study of the public health-care system that led to the AUGE plan a few years later. She was also given the task of eliminating waiting lists in the saturated public hospital system within the first 100 days of Lagos's government. She reduced waiting lists by 90%, but was unable to eliminate them completely[4] and offered her resignation, which was promptly rejected by the President. Controversially, she allowed free distribution of the morning-after pill for victims of sexual abuse.

On January 7, 2002 Bachelet was appointed Defense Minister, becoming the first woman to hold this post in a Latin American country and one of the few in the world. While Minister of Defense she promoted reconciliatory gestures between the military and victims of the dictatorship, culminating in the historic 2003 declaration by General Juan Emilio Cheyre, head of the army, that "never again" would the military subvert democracy in Chile. She also oversaw a reform of the military pension system and continued with the process of modernization of the Chilean armed forces with the purchasing of new military equipment, while engaging in international peace operations.

A moment which has been cited as key to Bachelet's chances to the presidency came during a flood in northern Santiago where she, as Defense Minister, led a rescue operation on top of an amphibious tank, wearing a cloak and military cap.[4][16][17]

Presidential candidacy

Bachelet during a television debate in 2005.

In late 2004, following a surge of her popularity in opinion polls, Bachelet was established as the only CPD figure able to defeat Lavín, and she was asked to become the Socialists' candidate for the presidency.[18] She was at first hesitant to accept the nomination as it was never one of her goals, but finally agreed because she felt she could not disappoint her supporters.[19] On October 1 of that year she was freed from her government post in order to begin her campaign and to help the CPD at the municipal elections held later that month. On January 28, 2005 she was named the Socialist Party's candidate for president.

An open primary scheduled for July 2005 to define the sole presidential candidate of the CPD was canceled after Bachelet's only rival, Christian Democrat Soledad Alvear, a cabinet member in the first three CPD administrations, pulled out early due to a lack of support within her own party and in opinion polls.

At the December 2005 election, Bachelet faced the center-right candidate Sebastián Piñera (RN), the right-wing candidate Joaquín Lavín (UDI) and the leftist candidate Tomás Hirsch (JPM). As predicted by opinion polls, she failed to obtain the absolute majority needed to win the election outright, winning 46% of the vote. In the runoff election on January 15, 2006, Bachelet faced Piñera, and won the presidency with 53.5% of the vote, thus becoming her country's first female elected president and the first woman who was not the wife of a previous head of state or political leader to reach the presidency of a Latin American nation in a direct election.[20]

On January 30, 2006, after being declared President-elect by the Elections Qualifying Court (Tricel), Bachelet announced her cabinet of ministers, which was unprecedentedly composed of an equal number of men and women, as was promised during her campaign. In keeping with the coalition's internal balance of power she named seven ministers from the Christian Democrat Party (PDC), five from the Party for Democracy (PPD), four from the Socialist Party (PS), one from the Social Democrat Radical Party (PRSD) and three without party affiliation. In the days that followed, she named the group of deputy ministers and regional intendants, following the same rule of "gender parity."


The Bachelet Cabinet
President Michelle Bachelet PS Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 11, 2010
Interior Andrés Zaldívar DC Mar. 11, 2006 – Jul. 14, 2006
Belisario Velasco DC Jul. 14, 2006 – Jan. 4, 2008
Edmundo Pérez Yoma DC Jan. 8, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Foreign Affairs Alejandro Foxley DC Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 13, 2009
Mariano Fernández DC Mar. 13, 2009 – Mar. 11, 2010
Defense Vivianne Blanlot PPD Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 27, 2007
José Goñi PPD Mar. 27, 2007 – Mar. 12, 2009
Francisco Vidal PPD Mar. 12, 2009 – Mar. 11, 2010
Finance Andrés Velasco Ind. Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 11, 2010
Secy. Gen. of
Paulina Veloso PS Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 27, 2007
José Antonio Viera-Gallo PS Mar. 27, 2007 – Mar. 10, 2010
Secy. Gen. of
Ricardo Lagos Weber PPD Mar. 11, 2006 – Dec. 6, 2007
Francisco Vidal PPD Dec. 6, 2007 – Mar. 12, 2009
Carolina Tohá PPD Mar. 12, 2009 – Dec. 14, 2009
Pilar Armanet PPD Dec. 18, 2009 – Mar. 11, 2010
Economy Ingrid Antonijevic PPD Mar. 11, 2006 – Jul. 14, 2006
Alejandro Ferreiro DC Jul. 14, 2006 – Jan. 8, 2008
Hugo Lavados DC Jan. 8, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Planning Clarisa Hardy PS Mar. 11, 2006 – Jan. 8, 2008
Paula Quintana PS Jan. 8, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Education Martín Zilic Hrepic DC Mar. 11, 2006 – Jul. 14, 2006
Yasna Provoste (impeached) DC Jul. 14, 2006 – Apr. 3, 2008
René Cortázar (interim) DC Apr. 3, 2008 – Apr. 18, 2008
Mónica Jiménez DC Apr. 18, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Justice Isidro Solís PRSD Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 27, 2007
Carlos Maldonado PRSD Mar. 27, 2007 – Mar. 11, 2010
Labor Osvaldo Andrade PS Mar. 11, 2006 – Dec. 10, 2008
Claudia Serrano PS Dec. 15, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Public Works Eduardo Bitrán PPD Mar. 11, 2006 – Jan. 11, 2008
Sergio Bitar PPD Jan. 11, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Health María Soledad Barría PS Mar. 11, 2006 – Oct. 28, 2008
Álvaro Erazo PS Nov. 6, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Patricia Poblete DC Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 11, 2010
Agriculture Álvaro Rojas DC Mar. 11, 2006 – Jan. 8, 2008
Marigen Hornkohl DC Jan. 8, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Mining Karen Poniachik Ind. Mar. 11, 2006 – Jan. 8, 2008
Santiago González PRSD Jan. 8, 2008 – Mar. 11, 2010
Sergio Espejo DC Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 27, 2007
René Cortázar DC Mar. 27, 2007 – Mar. 11, 2010
National Assets Romy Schmidt PPD Mar. 11, 2006 – Jan. 6, 2010
Jacqueline Weinstein PPD Jan. 6, 2010 – Mar. 11, 2010
Energy Karen Poniachik Ind. Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 29, 2007
Marcelo Tokman PPD Mar. 29, 2007 – Mar. 11, 2010
Women Laura Albornoz DC Mar. 11, 2006 – Oct. 20, 2009
Carmen Andrade PS Oct. 20, 2009 – Mar. 11, 2010
Culture & the
Paulina Urrutia Ind. Mar. 11, 2006 – Mar. 11, 2010
Environment Ana Lya Uriarte PS Mar. 27, 2007 – Mar. 11, 2010
Bachelet waving with world leaders at the inauguration ceremony in Valparaíso.

Bachelet was sworn in as President of the Republic of Chile on March 11, 2006 in a ceremony held in a plenary session of the National Congress in Valparaíso which was attended by many foreign heads of states and delegates.[17]

Domestic affairs

Most of Bachelet's first three months as president were spent working on 36 measures she had promised during her campaign to implement during her first 100 days in office. They ranged from simple presidential decrees, such as providing free health care for older patients, to complex bills to reform the social security system and the electoral system.

In March 2006 Bachelet created an advisory committee on pension reform, headed by former budget director Mario Marcel.[21] The commission issued its final report in July 2006.[22] One of its proposals was to raise the retirement age for women, which Bachelet soundly rejected.[23]

Bachelet's first political crisis came in late April 2006, when massive high school student demonstrations—unseen in three decades—broke out throughout the country, demanding a rise of quality levels in public education. In July she had a disastrous public relations incident when a group of residents she was visiting in the southern city of Chiguayante that were affected by a landslide berated her publicly on television, accusing her of using their tragedy to boost her falling popularity. One woman demanded that she left the scene so rescue efforts could continue.[24][25] These protests, and a sharp drop in her popularity, forced Bachelet to reshuffle her cabinet after only four months in office—a record in the country's history.[26]

Job-approval ratings.

In June 2006 Bachelet sought to dampen the student protests by setting up an 81-member advisor committee, including education experts from all political backgrounds, representatives of ethnic groups, parents, teachers, students, school owners, university rectors, people from diverse religious denominations, etc. Its purpose was to propose changes to the country's educational system and serve as a forum to share ideas and views. The committee issued its final report in December 2006.[27]

In August 2006 Bachelet inaugurated a new subway line, serving southern Santiago,[28] and in December 2006 she opened new stations, extending an existing subway line.[29] The final months of 2006 were marred by reports of alleged misspending of public funds, specially in Chiledeportes, a government sports funding organization. There were also accusations of misappropriation of funds channeled through phantom firms, and identity theft to fund congressional campaigns in late 2005. The scandal prompted Bachelet to present an anti-corruption plan in late November.

In December 2006 former dictator Augusto Pinochet died. Bachelet decided not to grant him a state funeral, an honour bestowed upon constitutionally elected Chilean presidents, but a military funeral as former commander-in-chief of the Army appointed by President Salvador Allende. She also refused to declare an official national day of mourning, but it did authorize flags at military barracks to fly at half staff. Pinochet's coffin was also allowed to be draped in a Chilean flag. Bachelet did not attend his funeral saying it would be "a violation of [her] conscience" and sent Defense Minister, Vivianne Blanlot.[30]

Other issues faced by Bachelet during her first year included issuing a controversial decree allowing for the free distribution of the "morning-after pill" to women older than 14 years of age without parental consent,[31] a nine-month Executive-Congress deadlock over the naming of a new Controller General, and a difficult implementation of a new public transport system for the capital, called Transantiago, and designed under President Lagos.[20] This last issue escalated into a major crisis that damaged her popularity and which resulted in a second cabinet adjustment two weeks into her second year.

Bachelet's popularity dipped in her second year, reaching a low of 35% approval, 46% disapproval in September 2007. This fall was mainly attributed to the Transantiago fiasco, put into motion in February that year.[1] On her decision not to abort the plan's start, she said in April 2007 she was given erroneous information which caused her to act against her "instincts."[32] That same month she had a second negative incident when a group of earthquake and tsunami victims she was visiting in the southern region of Aisén received her bearing black flags, and accused her of showing up late.[33][34] The city mayor, who told Bachelet to "go to hell", later apologized.[35][36]

In November and December of 2007, following months of discussions, Bachelet reached preliminary agreements with the opposition on the issues of education and pension reform, and measures to tackle urban crime. On the economic side, while the year saw the lowest unemployment rates since 1998, and growth was forecast to be above 5% (better than 2006's disappointing 4%), inflation was nearly twice the Central Bank's upper target of 4%—due to a rise in food prices, the result of a harsh winter that cut harvests—and the peso strengthened to an eight-year high against the US dollar, hurting exporters.

In January 2008 Bachelet shook up her cabinet for the third time, prompted by the unexpected resignation of her Interior Minister Belisario Velasco.[37][38] On 11 March 2008 she celebrated the start of her third year in office by signing the pension reform bill into law, which established a Basic Solidarity Pension (PBS) and a Solidarity Pension Contribution (APS), guaranteeing a minimum pension for people in the 60% poorest segment of the population, regardless of their contribution history.[39] The reform also grants a bonus to female pensioners for every child born alive.[40] In April 2008, her Education Minister Yasna Provoste was impeached by Congress for her handling of a scandal involving mismanagement of school subsidies. Her conviction —the first for a minister in 36 years[41]— was controversial and highly politicized.[42][43] In August 2008 Bachelet signed a freedom of information bill into law, which became effective in April 2009.

In September 2008 Chile's Constitutional Court declared a US$400 million loan by the Inter-American Development Bank to fund the Transantiago transport system unconstitutional. Bachelet —who had been forced to ask for the loan after Congress had refused to approve funds for the beleaguered program in November 2007— made use of an emergency clause in the Constitution that grants funds equivalent to 2% of the fiscal budget.[44] In November 2008 she invoked the emergency clause again after Congress once again denied funds for the system for 2009.

In January 2009 Bachelet unveiled a US$4 billion economic stimulus package to cope with the global financial crisis.[45] In March 2009 she reshuffled her cabinet for the fourth time, following the resignation of her Foreign Affairs Minister, Alejandro Foxley. That same month she made good of a promise to award free computers to poor seventh graders with excellent academic performance studying in government-subsidized schools, via the "I Choose my PC" program.[46] In June 2009 Bachelet introduced pay equality legislation, guaranteeing equal pay for equal work in the private sector, regardless of gender.[47] Two months later she signed the education reform bill into law, which created two new regulatory bodies: a Superintendency on Education and a Quality Agency.[48] In September 2009 Bachelet signed the "Chile Grows with You" plan into law, providing comprehensive social services to vulnerable children from ages zero to six. That law also established a social welfare management framework called the "Intersectoral Social Protection System", made up of subsystems, such as "Chile Solidario" and "Chile Grows with You".[49] That same month she announced Chile would adopt the Japanese standard ISDB-T with MPEG-4 for digital terrestrial television, joining Argentina and Peru.[50]

In December 2009 Bachelet announced the construction of a new subway line in Santiago, to be operational in 2014.[51] In January 2010 she inaugurated new subway stations in Santiago, originally announced by the Lagos Administration in November 2005. Also in January she opened the Museum of Memory in Santiago, documenting the horrors of Pinochet's 16-and-a-half year dictatorship.[52] On 18 January 2010, Bachelet promulgated a law allowing the distribution of emergency contraception pills in public and private health centers, including to persons under 14, without parental consent. The law also requires high schools to add a sexual education program to their curriculum.[53] That same month she enacted a law creating the Ministry for the Environment. The new legislation also created the Environmental Evaluation Service and the Superintendency for the Environment.[54][55]

On 27 February 2010, on the last week of summer vacations[56] and less than two weeks before Bachelet's term expired, Chile was ravaged by an 8.8-magnitude earthquake that killed more than 500 people, toppled apartment buildings and bridges and triggered tsunamis that wiped away entire fishing villages. Bachelet and the government were criticized for the slow response to the disaster, which hit on a Saturday at 3:34 in the morning[20] and left most of the country without electricity, phone or Internet access.[57][58][59] Bachelet declared a "state of catastrophe" and on Sunday afternoon sent military troops to the most affected areas in an effort to quell scenes of looting and arson.[20] She also imposed night curfews in the most affected cities.[60] She was criticized for not deploying the troops fast enough.[61][62]

Bachelet began her term with an unprecedented absolute majority in both chambers of Congress—before appointed senators were eliminated in the 2005 constitutional reforms the CPD never had a majority in the Senate—but she was soon faced with internal opposition coming from a number of dissatisfied lawmakers from both chambers of Congress, the so-called díscolos ("disobedient," "ungovernable"), which jeopardized the coalition's narrow—and historic[63]—Congress majority on a number of key executive-sponsored bills during much of her first half in office, and forced her to negotiate with a right-wing opposition she saw as being obstructionist.[64][65] During the course of 2007 the CPD lost its absolute majority in both chambers of Congress, as several senators and deputies from that coalition became independent.

Bachelet was widely credited for resisting calls from politicians from her own coalition to spend the huge copper revenues to close the country's income gap.[20][66] Instead in 2007 she created the Economic and Social Stabilization Fund, a sovereign wealth fund which accumulates fiscal surpluses which are above 1% of GDP.[67] This strategy allowed her to finance new social policies and provide economic stimulus packages when the 2008 financial crisis hit the country, lowering the value of its exports by 30%.[20] At the onset of the crisis in September 2008 Bachelet's popularity was at a low 42%. But when she left office in March 2010 her job approval rating was at a record 84%, according to conservative polling institute Adimark GfK.[68] The Chilean Constitution does not allow a president to serve two consecutive terms[20] and Bachelet endorsed CPD candidate Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle for the December 2009 election.[69] Bachelet has not ruled out a return to the presidency at the next elections in 2013.[70]

Foreign relations

Bachelet with former Argentine president Néstor Kirchner.

During her first year in office Bachelet faced continuing problems from neighbors Argentina and Peru. In July 2006 she sent a letter of protest to Argentine president Néstor Kirchner after his government issued a decree increasing export tariffs of natural gas to Chile, which was considered by Bachelet to be a violation of a tacit bilateral agreement. A month later a long-standing border dispute resurfaced after Argentina published some tourist maps showing contested territory in the south—the Southern Patagonian Ice Field (Campo de Hielo Patagónico Sur)—as Argentine, violating an agreement not to define a border over the area. In early 2007 Peru accused Chile of unilaterally redefining their shared sea boundary in a law, passed by Congress, which detailed the borders of the new administrative region of Arica and Parinacota. The impasse was resolved by the Chilean Constitutional Tribunal, which declared the particular section of the law unconstitutional. In March 2007, the Chilean state-owned—but editorially independent—television channel TVN cancelled the broadcast of a documentary about the War of the Pacific after a cautionary call was made to the stations' board of directors by Chilean Foreign Relations Minister Alejandro Foxley, apparently acting on demands made by the Peruvian ambassador to Chile;[citation needed] the show was finally broadcast in late May of that year. In August 2007 the Chilean government filed a formal diplomatic protest to Peru and summoned home its ambassador, after Peru published an official map claiming a part of the Pacific Ocean that Chile considers its sovereign territory. Peru said this was just another step in its plans to bring the dispute to the International Court of Justice in The Hague. In January 2008 Peru asked the court to consider the dispute, prompting Bachelet to summon home the Chilean ambassador in Lima for consultations.[71]

Chile's October 16, 2006 vote in the United Nations Security Council election—with Venezuela and Guatemala deadlocked in a bid for the two-year, non-permanent Latin American and Caribbean seat on the Security Council—developed into a major ideological issue in the country and was seen as a test for Bachelet. The governing coalition was divided between the Socialists, who supported a vote for Venezuela, and the Christian Democrats, who strongly opposed it. The day before the vote the president announced (through her spokesman) that Chile would abstain, citing as reason a lack of regional consensus over a single candidate, ending months of speculation. In March 2007 Chile's ambassador to Venezuela, Claudio Huepe, revealed in an interview with teleSUR that Bachelet personally told him that she initially wanted to vote for Venezuela, but then "there were a series of circumstances that forced me to abstain."[72] The government quickly recalled Huepe and accepted his resignation.

Bachelet with Evo Morales and Lula da Silva at a Union of South American Nations summit in 2008.

In October 2007 Bachelet granted an amnesty to undocumented migrants from other Latin American countries. The measure was expected to benefit around 15,000 Peruvians and 2,000 Bolivians.[73] In December 2007 Bachelet signed in Bolivia a trilateral agreement with the presidents of Brazil and Bolivia to complete and improve a 4,700 km road to connect the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, via Arica and Iquique in Chile and Santos in Brazil. In May 2008, following months of intense lobbying, Chile was elected as member of the United Nations Human Rights Council, obtaining the largest vote among Latin American countries.[74]

In May 2008 Bachelet became the first President pro tempore of the Union of South American Nations (Unasur) and in September she called for an urgent summit, after Bolivian President Evo Morales warned of a possible coup attempt against him. The presidents of Bolivia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, Brasil and Colombia, and the Secretary-General of the Organization of American States, met with Bachelet at the La Moneda Palace in Santiago, where they agreed to send two commissions to Bolivia: one to mediate between the executive and the opposition, and another to investigate the killings in Pando Department.[75] That same month Chile sent a letter of protest to Venezuela after Caracas expelled the director of Human Rights Watch's Americas division José Miguel Vivanco, a Chilean national.[76]

In February 2009 Bachelet visited Cuba and met with Fidel Castro. There she urged the United States to put an end to the embargo. No Chilean head of state had visited the country in 37 years.[77] The meeting with Castro backfired after the Cuban leader wrote, a day later, that the "fascist and vengeful Chilean oligarchy is the same which more than 100 years ago robbed Bolivia of its access to the Pacific and of copper-rich lands in a humiliating war."[78][79][80]

In March 2009, Bachelet hosted in Viña del Mar, the "Progressive Leaders Summit", meeting with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown, Spanish Prime Minister José Luis Rodríguez Zapatero and Presidents Tabaré Vázquez of Uruguay, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva of Brazil and Cristina Fernández de Kirchner of Argentina. The reunion garnered some media interest because it took place six days before the highly-anticipated G-20 Summit in London.[81][82]

In December 2009 Chile became the first country in South America and second in Latin America after Mexico to receive an invitation to join the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).[83] Bachelet signed the accession agreement in January 2010,[84] but it formally became a member in May 2010, after she had left office.[85]

Continuing the coalition's free-trade strategy, in August 2006 Bachelet promulgated a free trade agreement with the People's Republic of China (signed under the previous administration of Ricardo Lagos), the first Chinese free-trade agreement with a Latin American nation; similar deals with Japan and India were promulgated in August 2007. In October 2006, Bachelet promulgated a multilateral trade deal with New Zealand, Singapore and Brunei, the Trans-Pacific Strategic Economic Partnership (P4), also signed under Lagos' presidency. She also held free-trade talks with other countries, including Australia, Vietnam, Turkey and Malaysia. Regionally, she signed bilateral free trade agreements with Panama, Peru and Colombia.

Post-presidential career

In April 2010 Bachelet inaugurated her own think-tank, "Fundación Dialoga". Its headquarters are located in Providencia, a suburb of Santiago.[86]

On 14 September 2010 Bachelet was appointed as head of the newly created body UN Women by UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. She took office on 19 September 2010.

Bachelet is a member of the Club of Madrid, the world’s largest forum of former heads of state and government.[87]


Awards and media recognition

  • Ranked 17th most powerful women in the world by Forbes magazine in 2006[88] (she was #22 in 2009,[89] #25 in 2008,[90] and #27 in 2007.[91])
  • Defense of Freedom and Democracy Award by Ramón Rubial Foundation (January 2007).[92]
  • Ranked world's 15th most influential person by TIME magazine in 2008.[93]
  • Shalom Award by the World Jewish Congress (June 2008).[94]
  • Maximum Leadership Award (Argentina, October 2008).[95]
  • Global Trailblazer Award by Vital Voices (October 2008).[95]
  • South American Football Honorary Order of Merit in the Extraordinary Great Collar degree by CONMEBOL in July 2009.[96] She is the first woman to receive such recognition.[97]
  • Woman of the Bicentenary at the 2010 Energy of Woman Awards by Chilectra (April 2010).[98]
  • Federation of Progressive Women's International Prize (Spain, November 2010).[99]
  • Keys to the City of Miami (November 2010).[100]
  • The Association of Bi-National Chambers of Commerce in Florida's 2010 Award for Leadership in Global Trade (November 2010).[100]
  • Washington Office on Latin America's Human Rights Award (November 2010).[101]
  • Women’s eNews’ Newsmaker of the Decade Award (May 2011).[102]

Honorary degrees


  • Michelle Bachelet - Symbol des neuen Chile (Ebbo Demant / SWR, 2004)[111]
  • La hija del General ["The General's Daughter"] (María Elena Wood / 2006)[112]

Notes and references

  1. ^ a b "/ Life & Arts - First among unequals: Chile’s president". Ft.com. 2007-09-29. http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/2af1a9be-6b14-11dc-9410-0000779fd2ac.html#axzz1XRDFjYu9. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  2. ^ Correa, Raquel (April 3, 2005). "Title unknown" (in Spanish). El Mercurio. Archived from the original on 2008-07-06. http://web.archive.org/web/20080706185310/http://www.mujeresconbachelet.cl/Pages/EntrevistasCorrea.html. Retrieved 2007-12-08. 
  3. ^ a b c d "Biografía Michelle Bachelet" (in Spanish). Gobierno de Chile. Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20080312235635/http://www.gobiernodechile.cl/viewPresidenta.aspx?Idarticulo=22478. Retrieved 2007-02-02. 
  4. ^ a b c d "Biografías de Líderes Políticos CIDOB: Michelle Bachelet Jeria" (in Spanish). Fundació CIDOB. March 9, 2007. http://www.cidob.org/es/documentacion/biografias_lideres_politicos/america_del_sur/chile/michelle_bachelet_jeria. Retrieved 2007-05-18. 
  5. ^ "Familia Jeria (Geria)". Genealog.cl. http://www.genealog.cl/Chile/J/Jeria/#JeriaJohnson,Maximo. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  6. ^ Rohter, Larry (January 16, 2006). "Woman in the News; A Leader Making Peace With Chile's Past". The New York Times. http://select.nytimes.com/gst/abstract.html?res=F10C10FA3F5B0C758DDDA80894DE404482. Retrieved 2006-01-16. 
  7. ^ a b c "La vida de la primera Presidenta de Chile" (in Spanish). La Nación. January 16, 2006. http://www.lanacion.cl/prontus_noticias/site/artic/20060116/pags/20060116011432.html. Retrieved 2006-01-16. 
  8. ^ a b "Los años de Alvear y Bachelet en el Liceo 1" (in Spanish). La Tercera. October 10, 2004. http://www.latercera.cl/medio/articulo/0,0,3255_5714_93568820,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-25. [dead link]
  9. ^ "Biografía de Michelle Bachelet" (in Spanish). La Nación. http://www.lanacion.cl/prontus_noticias/site/artic/20060115/pags/20060115211311.html. Retrieved 2006-01-15. 
  10. ^ Davison, Phil (December 12, 2005). "Single mother poised to be Chilean President". The Independent (London). http://news.independent.co.uk/world/americas/article332446.ece. Retrieved 2005-12-12. 
  11. ^ "Las huellas de Bachelet en Alemania Oriental" (in Spanish). La Tercera. April 9, 2006. Archived from the original on 2006-07-08. http://web.archive.org/web/20060708054735/http://www.tercera.com/medio/articulo/0,0,3255_66602343_199370524,00.html. Retrieved 2006-04-09. 
  12. ^ Registro Nacional de Prestadores Individuales de Salud, Superintendencia de Salud.
  13. ^ "La historia del ex frentista que fue pareja de Bachelet" (in Spanish). La Tercera. July 10, 2005. Archived from the original on 2006-04-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20060427025539/http://www.latercera.cl/medio/articulo/imprimir/0,0,3255_66602343_147819372,00.html. Retrieved 2005-07-10. 
  14. ^ "El libro que emocionó a Bachelet" (in Spanish). Qué Pasa. Archived from the original on 2008-01-12. http://web.archive.org/web/20080112195658/http://www.latercera.cl/medio/articulo/0,0,38039290_101111578_310776715,00.html. Retrieved 2008-01-26. 
  15. ^ "Las historias clandestinas de Bachelet" (in Spanish). La Tercera. December 9, 2007. http://papeldigital.info/ltrep/. Retrieved 2007-12-27. 
  16. ^ [1][dead link]
  17. ^ a b "Asumió Bachelet e hizo historia - 12.03.2006 - lanacion.com". Lanacion.com.ar. http://www.lanacion.com.ar/788220-asumio-bachelet-e-hizo-historia. Retrieved 2011-09-13. 
  18. ^ Franklin, Jonathan (November 22, 2005). "'All I want in life is to walk along the beach, holding my lover's hand'". The Guardian (London). http://www.guardian.co.uk/chile/story/0,13755,1648008,00.html. Retrieved 2005-11-22. 
  19. ^ Santa María, Orietta (January 19, 2006). "'Estuve una semana encerrada en un cajón, vendada, atada'" (in Spanish). Las Últimas Noticias. Archived from the original on 2006-05-27. http://web.archive.org/web/20060527103325/http://www.lun.com/modulos/catalogo/paginas/2006/01/19/LUCST09LU1901.htm. Retrieved 2006-01-19. 
  20. ^ a b c d e f g Barrionuevo, Alexei (2010-03-11). "Michelle Bachelet - The New York Times". Topics.nytimes.com. http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/b/michelle_bachelet/index.html. Retrieved 2011-09-10. 
  21. ^ "Comisión Reforma Previsional será encabezada por Mario Marcel - Terra". Economia.terra.cl. http://economia.terra.cl/noticias/noticia.aspx?idNoticia=200603131723_INV_29130464. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  22. ^ "Comisión Marcel propone equiparar edad de jubilación de hombres y mujeres". Emol.com. http://www.emol.com/noticias/nacional/2006/07/06/224273/comision-marcel-propone-equiparar-edad-de-jubilacion-de-hombres-y-mujeres.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  23. ^ Por Gloria Delucchi (2009-06-27). "Comisión Marcel propone aumento gradual de edad de jubilación de mujeres a 65 años. | El Morrocotudo Arica". Elmorrocotudo.cl. http://www.elmorrocotudo.cl/admin/render/noticia/4882. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  24. ^ "Damnificados de Chiguayante acusan a Bachelet de abusar de la tragedia". Emol.com. http://www.emol.com/noticias/nacional/2006/07/12/224973/damnificados-de-chiguayante-acusan-a-bachelet-de-abusar-de-la-tragedia.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  25. ^ "Bachelet debió enfrentar la rabia de afectados por temporal en Chiguayante". Cooperativa.cl. 2006-07-12. http://www.cooperativa.cl/p4_noticias/site/artic/20060712/pags/20060712142230.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  26. ^ Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle reshuffled his cabinet in his sixth month as President, with a six-year mandate, two more than Bachelet.
  27. ^ "nacion.cl - Bachelet recibe informe de educaciĂłn agradeciendo labor del Consejo". Lanacion.cl. 2006-12-11. http://www.lanacion.cl/prontus_noticias/site/artic/20061211/pags/20061211124623.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
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  29. ^ "Ministerio de Transportes y Telecomunicaciones - Gobierno de Chile | PRESIDENTA MICHELLE BACHELET INAUGURÓ EXTENSIÓN DE LA LÍNEA 2 NORTE DEL METRO QUE BENEFICIA A MÁS DE 670.000 PERSONAS". Mtt.gob.cl. 2007-01-30. http://www.mtt.gob.cl/prontus_mtt/site/artic/20070130/pags/20070130181013.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  30. ^ "Clashes Break out after Pinochet's death", Yahoo! News, 11 December 2006
  31. ^ "Bachelet ya firmó decreto que autoriza entrega de la "píldora"" (in Spanish). Radio Cooperativa. January 29, 2007. http://www.cooperativa.cl/prontus_nots/site/artic/20070129/pags/20070129214009.html. Retrieved 2007-01-29. 
  32. ^ "Belisario Velasco afirma que Bachelet también conoció informe del Metro que advertía colapso del Transantiago" (in Spanish). La Tercera. July 30, 2007. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. http://web.archive.org/web/20071219104438/http://www.latercera.cl/medio/articulo/0,0,3255_5664_285592518,00.html. Retrieved 2007-12-24. 
  33. ^ "Con banderas negras protestan en Puerto Aisén por llegada de Bachelet". Emol.com. http://www.emol.com/noticias/nacional/detalle/detallenoticias.asp?idnoticia=253435. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  34. ^ "Alcalde de Puerto Aysén: La Presidenta "se puede ir a la punta del cerro"". Cooperativa.cl. 2007-04-23. http://www.cooperativa.cl/p4_noticias/site/artic/20070423/pags/20070423081108.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  35. ^ "Alcalde insistió que Bachelet "le faltó el respeto" a la gente de Aysén". Cooperativa.cl. 2007-04-24. http://www.cooperativa.cl/alcalde-insistio-que-bachelet-le-falto-el-respeto-a-la-gente-de-aysen/prontus_nots/2007-04-24/190710.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  36. ^ "Alcalde de Aysén ofreció disculpas públicas a Bachelet". Cooperativa.cl. 2007-06-18. http://www.cooperativa.cl/alcalde-de-aysen-ofrecio-disculpas-publicas-a-bachelet/prontus_nots/2007-06-18/132756.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  37. ^ "Bachelet nombra a seis nuevos ministros · ELPAÍS.com". Elpais.com. 2008-01-09. http://www.elpais.com/articulo/internacional/Bachelet/nombra/nuevos/ministros/elpepiint/20080109elpepiint_13/Tes. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  38. ^ "Belisario Velasco presentó su "renuncia indeclinable" a Interior". Cooperativa.cl. http://www.cooperativa.cl/p4_noticias/site/artic/20080103/pags/20080103202658.html. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
  39. ^ Incentives under the New Pension Solidarity Pillar in Chile, Eduardo Fajnzylber. March 2010.
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  42. ^ "La destitución de ministra por el Senado causa polémica en Chile". Eldeber.com.bo. 2008-04-18. http://www.eldeber.com.bo/2008/2008-04-18/vernotainternacional.php?id=080417224659. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
  43. ^ Por José Sanhueza C.... "Las miradas de la política regional a la destitución de Yasna Provoste | La Opinon". Laopinon.cl. http://www.laopinon.cl/admin/render/noticia/14834. Retrieved 2011-09-16. 
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  50. ^ "Chile adopta versión japonesa de TV Digital y nueva norma parte en 2010 | MIS FINANZAS | latercera.com". Tercera.com. http://www.tercera.com/contenido/745_181726_9.shtml. Retrieved 2011-09-09. 
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External links

Political offices
Preceded by
Alex Figueroa
Minister of Health
Succeeded by
Osvaldo Artaza
Preceded by
Mario Fernández
Minister of National Defense
Succeeded by
Jaime Ravinet
Preceded by
President pro tempore of Unasur
Succeeded by
Rafael Correa
Preceded by
Ricardo Lagos
President of Chile
Succeeded by
Sebastián Piñera

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

См. также в других словарях:

  • Michelle Bachelet — Jeria Michelle Bachelet Jeria. Presidenta de la República de Chile …   Wikipedia Español

  • Michelle Bachelet — (2007) Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (* 29. September 1951 in Santiago de Chile), früher Kinderärztin, ist Untergeneralseketärin der Vereinten Nationen als geschäftsführende Direktorin (Executive Director) der UN Frauen Organisation UN Women.… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Michelle Bachelet — Pour les articles homonymes, voir Bachelet. Michelle Bachelet Mandats …   Wikipédia en Français

  • Michelle Bachelet — Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (* 29 de septiembre de 1951), médico cirujano, política chilena socialista, ex ministra de Estado y candidata presidencial de la Concertación de Partidos por la Democracia. Fue la primera mujer en ocupar el puesto …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Michelle Bachelet Jeria — Michelle Bachelet Verónica Michelle Bachelet Jeria (* 29. September 1951 in Santiago de Chile) ist seit dem 11. März 2006 die erste Präsidentin Chiles. Zuvor war die frühere Kinderärztin Gesundheits und Verteidigungsministerin ihres Landes… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Gobierno de Michelle Bachelet — Michelle Bachelet Jeria Presidente de la República de Chile …   Wikipedia Español

  • Bachelet — is a surname of French origin.It may refer to:* Alberto Bachelet (1922 1974), a Chilean military, father of Michelle Bachelet * Alfred Bachelet, French composer and conductor * Michelle Bachelet (1951 ), current President of Chile * Pierre… …   Wikipedia

  • Michelle (given name) — Michelle Pronunciation m SHEL, mee SHEL, mi SHEL Gender Female Origin Word/Name Hebrew via French and English Meaning Who is lik …   Wikipedia

  • Bachelet — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Alfred Bachelet (1864–1944), französischer Komponist, Dirigent und Musikpädagoge Théodore Bachelet (1820–1879), französischer Historiker Michelle Bachelet (* 1951), chilenische Staatspräsidentin von 2006… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Michelle — hace referencia a: Michelle Estephanie Ü , Ella es entera sensula las mas hot del liceo 7 todas la aman . michelle es entera sensulada Michelle Obama, abogada y esposa de Barack Obama, Presidente de Estados Unidos. Michelle Ang, actriz… …   Wikipedia Español

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