Aquino calls anti-dictatorship Chilean president ‘kindred spirit’
A “kindred spirit.” That was how President Benigno Aquino III described Chilean President Michelle Bachelet on Monday during the state luncheon held in her honor.
Bachelet, the first woman president of Chile, is currently in Manila for a state visit. She will also attend the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) Summit.
Like Aquino, Bachelet’s family suffered during the reign of a dictatorial regime. Her family was detained when Gen. Augusto Pinochet seized power in 1973. Together with her parents, she was tortured and was later sent to exile in Australia.
Besides being the first Latin American woman who is not the wife of a political leader to win as president, she is also the first Chilean president to win a reelection.
Aquino, on the other hand, is the son of Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino Jr., who was assassinated during the dictatorship of Ferdinand Marcos, and the late Corazon Aquino, who was catapulted to the presidency after a people power revolt.
“In you, Madam President, I can say, I find a kindred spirit. You yourself experienced what it was like to stand up to a dictatorship, and thus demonstrated the solidarity and sacrifice required to build a vibrant democracy, together with your people,” Aquino said during his toast at the Rizal Hall.
“As individuals who had to endure hardship and exile under our countries’ dictatorial regimes, you and I know full well the terror that tyranny brings,” he added.
“Thus, in our own capacities, as leaders of our peoples we must continue to exert every effort to live out the beliefs that our countrymen are worth fighting for, and that remembering the sacrifice of the past gives us a firm foundation for a prosperous, inclusive future that will never allow tyranny to return,” Aquino said.
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