Haiti and Chile

Charlotte Hays | Posted on 03/05/10

"Though it is not especially fashionable at the moment to note these things, Chile, unlike Haiti, is also a working democracy."

We've all been struck with the different ways in which Haiti and Chile coped with devastating earth quakes. There are numerous reasons why Chile was able to handle it better than Haiti. Columnist Anne Applebaum proposes one in particular:

Though it is not especially fashionable at the moment to note these things, Chile, unlike Haiti, is also a working democracy. In recent elections, the center-left ruling party lost to the center-right opposition for the first time in two decades. Power is expected to change hands without incident when the new president, Sebastián Piñera, is inaugurated next week. Although Piñera is a billionaire, he directed his campaign at small-business owners, promised to sell off some of his assets so as to avoid conflicts of interest, and has just appointed a Cabinet that includes a number of independent and even center-left ministers. Of course, we don't know what kind of president Piñera will ultimately turn out to be, but it is clear that in order to become president, he had to appeal to millions of people and not just to a wealthy, partisan elite.

 

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