Friends reunited? Michelle Bachelet is congratulated by her electoral opponent and childhood friend Evelyn Matthei on her victory in Sunday’s presidential runoff vote.
It’s a shame the Chilean runoff election happened to take place on the same day as Nelson Mandela’s funeral. Michelle Bachelet won an easy victory over Evelyn Matthei, with an estimated 62 percent of the vote, and this will mark the first time since Chile’s return to democracy that a president will serve a second term.
Matthei conceded and personally congratulated Bachelet, telling her supporters that her “deepest and honest desire is that things go well for her.”
Now comes the hard part. The BBC’s Gideon Long reports that Chile’s Central Bank is warning that growth might drop to below 4 percent next year, as copper prices extend their recent decline http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-25398021. Bachelet faces high expectations for education reform, but this will be costly and harder to bring off with lower export revenues.
On an entirely different subject, the Santiago Times has an interview with Chilean novelist and culture minister Roberto Ampuero, who recounts his extraordinary odyssey from young Communist Party member during the Allende years, to exile in East Germany and Cuba, to political independent and “liberal in terms of individuals, in terms of limited government, individual freedom and democracy.”http://santiagotimes.cl/qa-novelist-culture-minister-roberto-ampuero/
The Washington Post has a piece on Chile’s wine industry, which was hit hard by the February 2010 earthquake: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wines-from-chile-worth-a-fresh-look/2012/08/10/a6cac714-e21f-11e1-a25e-15067bb31849_story.html
Canada’s Chronicle Herald has a review of The Neruda Case, the first of Chilean novelist Roberto Ampuero’s books to be published in English:http://thechronicleherald.ca/books/125936-the-neruda-case-challenges-image-of-chile-s-greatest-poet
The Economist has an article on Chile’s fishing industry, which it describes as “a paradise for anglers but a headache for regulators.” http://www.economist.com/node/21560283
Reuters reports on a move by Chile’s Labor Ministry to fine and blacklist Starbucks and Wal-Mart, along with 34 other companies, over labor practices: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/10/chile-labor-idUSL2E8JA0GK20120810
Chilean novelist Roberto Ampuero’s thirteen books have been translated into German, French, Italian, Chinese, Swedish, Portuguese, Greek and Croatian and the Spanish-speaking world has awarded him several literary prizes. But only now are English-speaking readers getting a chance to read his work. This month Riverhead Books, a division of the Penguin group, has published The Neruda Case, one of Ampuero’s six detective novels featuring Chilean sleuth Cayetano Brulé.
The Neruda Case opens in present day Valparaiso, with vivid descriptions of the port city’s “fifty teeming, anarchic hills” and its inhabitants who “risked their lives on shabby postwar trolleys and a handful of whining cable cars each time they rode to work or to homes with crumbling balconies and gardens that settled gracefully on peaks or clung precariously to hillsides.” Cayetano Brulé watches the city, remembering his work as a much younger man, and a photograph of Nobel laureate Pablo Neruda sends his mind back to 1973, before the military coup that ousted Socialist president Salvador Allende. The poet, gravely ill with cancer, summons Brulé and asks him to track down an old acquaintance last seen in Mexico.
Here’s an essay by Ampuero’s translator Carolina De Robertis in Publishers Weekly: