SANTIAGO – “I have not thought about resigning and I’m not intending to do so. No way,” said Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Wednesday, emphasizing that the corruption in the country “is not widespread” and that the fact that some of her relatives are being investigated proves that nothing is being covered up.
In the face of press rumors about her possible resignation, which arose after the political scandals that came to light in Chile recently, Bachelet said in a meeting with foreign correspondents that if she were to step down “that would be an institutional failure.”
The president expressed her concern over the spread of those kinds of reports without any corroboration and she called on the press to exercise “responsibility” but emphasized “let it be clear that I’m not – at any time – asking for freedom of expression to be done away with.”
Regarding the scandals, in one of which her son and her daughter-in-law are implicated, she said, “there may be corruption in Chile, but it is not widespread. Not everyone is corrupt in our country.”
The president lamented the fact that in Chile “a kind of culture of lack of trust” is being installed that holds that there is nobody who is not corrupt. “And that’s not true,” she said.
The fact that her own relatives and businessmen who are in custody are being investigated shows that the Chilean government is not trying to hide anything, she said.
“When there are powerful businessmen who are in jail and who are being investigated, when there are relatives of the president who are being investigated to see if there is any merit in sending something to the next (judicial) level, that proves that the government is not making any effort to cover up anything,” she emphasized.
“Here there are no first- and second-class citizens,” said Bachelet, whose popularity has dropped abruptly in recent weeks, according to opinion polls.
“Apart from the feeling among Chileans that here there are powerful people who are moving and shaking things up, both in the business world and in the political world, what has happened in our country proves the opposite,” the president declared.
Bachelet was referring to cases that combine politics and business involving businessmen such as the owners of the Penta Group, Carlos Alberto Delano and Carlos Lavin, and her own son, Sebastian Davalos, and his wife, Natalia Compagnon.