Biden goes to Chile

by Fausta Rodriguez Wertz | March 12th, 2014

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Biden goes to Chile

by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Vice-​president Joe Biden was in Chile for the pres­i­den­tial inau­gu­ra­tion of Michelle Bachelet.

Bachelet pre­vi­ously served as Pres­i­dent from 2006 – 2010, but could not serve two con­sec­u­tive terms, so she ran, and won this sec­ond term. Bachelet has already pro­posed increas­ing cor­po­rate taxes and clos­ing tax loop­holes to spon­sor a sys­tem of free col­lege edu­ca­tion, changes to the con­sti­tu­tion, and more spend­ing to address inequal­ity. This does not bode well for the most suc­cess­ful coun­try in South Amer­ica if she steers the coun­try away from its free-​market economy.

Chile, Peru, Colom­bia and Mex­ico com­pose the Pacific Alliance, a trade block cre­ated in 2011 which aims to

  • Build, in a par­tic­i­pa­tory and con­sen­sual man­ner, an area of deep eco­nomic inte­gra­tion and to move grad­u­ally toward the free cir­cu­la­tion of goods, ser­vices, cap­i­tal and persons.
  • Pro­mote the larger growth, devel­op­ment and com­pet­i­tive­ness of the Par­ties’ economies, aim­ing at achiev­ing greater wel­fare, over­com­ing socio-​economic inequal­ity and achiev­ing greater social inclu­sion of their inhabitants.
  • Become a plat­form for polit­i­cal artic­u­la­tion, and eco­nomic and trade inte­gra­tion, and project these strengths to the rest of the world, with a spe­cial empha­sis on the Asia-​Pacific region.

Biden sched­uled face-​to-​face meet­ings with each of the Pacific Alliance pres­i­dents, Juan Manuel San­tos of Colom­bia, Ollanta Humala of Peru, and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mex­ico, hav­ing already met with Bachelet.

Ear­lier dur­ing his visit, Biden had

called the unsta­ble sit­u­a­tion in Venezuela “alarm­ing” and said the Cara­cas gov­ern­ment lacked even basic respect for human rights.

The Pacific Alliance arose as a free-​trade, pro-​democracy answer to the pro-​Communist, pro-​Cuba UNA­SUR that was the brain­child of the late Venezue­lan dic­ta­tor Hugo Chavez. Hugo’s suc­ces­sor, Nico­las Maduro, was sched­uled to attend Bachelet’s inau­gu­ra­tion, and had called an emer­gency meet­ing of UNA­SUR to take place in Chile, say­ing that the UNA­SUR heads of state are “wel­come” to con­demn the opposition’s vio­lence.

Maduro had cer­tainly made his agenda clear.

In antic­i­pa­tion of Maduro’s visit, sev­eral Chilean con­gress­men wore #SOSVenezuela but­tons to the inau­gural, show­ing their sup­port for the protesters:

Maduro decided at the last minute to skip Chile alto­gether, and took a hike. He sent his For­eign Min­is­ter, Elias Jaua.

Brazil, the largest UNA­SUR coun­try, demurred on tak­ing a stance on Venezuela. Biden was not invited, and it’s a good thing he’s not per­ceived as being involved with any of the UNA­SUR doings.

Bet­ter yet, I applaud Biden’s atten­tion to the Pacific Alliance pres­i­dents. That is the kind of orga­ni­za­tion the hemi­sphere needs.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on US and Latin Amer­i­can pol­i­tics and Cul­ture at Fausta’s Blog.

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by Fausta Rodríguez Wertz

Vice-president Joe Biden was in Chile for the presidential inauguration of Michelle Bachelet.

Bachelet previously served as President from 2006–2010, but could not serve two consecutive terms, so she ran, and won this second term. Bachelet has already proposed increasing corporate taxes and closing tax loopholes to sponsor a system of free college education, changes to the constitution, and more spending to address inequality. This does not bode well for the most successful country in South America if she steers the country away from its free-market economy.

Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico compose the Pacific Alliance, a trade block created in 2011 which aims to

  • Build, in a participatory and consensual manner, an area of deep economic integration and to move gradually toward the free circulation of goods, services, capital and persons.
  • Promote the larger growth, development and competitiveness of the Parties’ economies, aiming at achieving greater welfare, overcoming socio-economic inequality and achieving greater social inclusion of their inhabitants.
  • Become a platform for political articulation, and economic and trade integration, and project these strengths to the rest of the world, with a special emphasis on the Asia-Pacific region.

Biden scheduled face-to-face meetings with each of the Pacific Alliance presidents, Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia, Ollanta Humala of Peru, and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, having already met with Bachelet.

Earlier during his visit, Biden had

called the unstable situation in Venezuela “alarming” and said the Caracas government lacked even basic respect for human rights.

The Pacific Alliance arose as a free-trade, pro-democracy answer to the pro-Communist, pro-Cuba UNASUR that was the brainchild of the late Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez. Hugo’s successor, Nicolas Maduro, was scheduled to attend Bachelet’s inauguration, and had called an emergency meeting of UNASUR to take place in Chile, saying that the UNASUR heads of state are “welcome” to condemn the opposition’s violence.

Maduro had certainly made his agenda clear.

In anticipation of Maduro’s visit, several Chilean congressmen wore #SOSVenezuela buttons to the inaugural, showing their support for the protesters:

Maduro decided at the last minute to skip Chile altogether, and took a hike. He sent his Foreign Minister, Elias Jaua.

Brazil, the largest UNASUR country, demurred on taking a stance on Venezuela. Biden was not invited, and it’s a good thing he’s not perceived as being involved with any of the UNASUR doings.

Better yet, I applaud Biden’s attention to the Pacific Alliance presidents. That is the kind of organization the hemisphere needs.

Fausta Rodríguez Wertz writes on US and Latin American politics and Culture at Fausta’s Blog.

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I would ask that you do subscribe by hitting the button below.  If your finances allow it, consider choosing Hat level or better.  A subscription comes not only with exclusive commentary, but on a weekly basis you will have the opportunity to get direct access to me by phone to provide feedback or suggestions to make sure this site is worthy of your financial support and patronage.


 

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