SANTIAGO – Concerning the controversial visit of Michelle Bachelet to Cuba, and hours after her meeting with Raúl Castro, President-elect Sebastián Piñera said on Monday that if he were in the position of the Head of State he would meet with representatives of the opposition.
After meeting with Luisa Ortega, the former Venezuelan attorney general who fled the Nicolás Maduro regime, Piñera indicated that “I believe that in Cuba, as well as in Venezuela, there is no democracy, liberties or respect for human rights.”
“Therefore, if I were President and visited Cuba -as I did when I visited Cuba- I would meet with the dissidence and with the Cubans who are struggling to recover their own democracy, freedom and the rule of law,” Piñera said.
The billionaire businessman told Ms. Ortega that her country will be a priority for him during his administration, the Radio Agricultura reported (in Spanish).
Bachelet’s trip to Cuba has received criticism from the right and but also from the ruling party.
In her speech at the seminar “Perspectives of Trade and Investment: Chile-Cuba” during her visit to island, the outgoing president highlighted the guidelines of the international policy of her management based on democracy, human rights and understanding among peoples.
Bachelet said that in a few weeks her administration will culminate in which “the international policy of my Government has been aimed at promoting understanding among peoples, democracy, human rights, promoting peace, strengthening economic relations and work in cooperation in different areas.”
“We trust that this line, which has had such good results in, for example, the growing presence of Chile in Central America and the Caribbean, and certainly in Cuba, will continue to be a predominant trend,” she stressed.
Pdta. @mbachelet: “No puedo dejar de destacar las cifras de turistas chilenos que han visitado este país, que pasaron de 17 mil quinientos en 2010 a más de a más de 49 mil el 2015” #PdtaEnCuba pic.twitter.com/JmSKLTsgqL
— Prensa Presidencia (@presidencia_cl) January 8, 2018
In addition, Bachelet stressed that “the great collective project of regional integration, to collaborate together to look for opportunities in our territory and in the rest of the world, is an objective that interprets the whole of our community, let’s continue on that path.”
Economy Minister Jorge Rodríguez Grossi, Direcon head Paulina Nazal, and Asexma president Roberto Fantuzzi among others were also present on the occasion.
Bachelet will be succeeded next March 11 by Sebastian Piñera, who won in a second round the presidential elections of last December.