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CLODHOPPING WITH CLAUDE IN THE CARIBBEAN AND SOUTH AMERICA
CHILE'S CLARION CALL
  
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Father Claude

As I was saying.....

I embrace the world from my backyard at the University of Portland, January 1, 2018. I again invite you to "clod-hop" with me on my journeys to Latin America via this blog. More...

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AND THE NEXT PRESIDENT IS...

I begin with "fútbol" news, or the soft power diplomacy of football. The photo is of the entrance to St. George’s College. This legendary football school, founded when Notre Dame used to be a football power (in the 1940), is administered by the Congregation of Holy Cross. Manolo Burboa former soccer coach of this college, is another legend from the past, when St George's was the school to beat. Today he directs women’s soccer at the Catholic University. He has continued his legendary leadership by placing 5 of his former players from St. George's as leaders in Nike’s sports division, Beaverton. And now,  Manolo will assist me in making them a UP connection, as well.

In the past, Chilean soccer was seen as inferior to Argentina's. Today, Chile is one of the leaders in world soccer. A lot of credit goes to coaches like Manolo who have prepared several generations of top players.  OK, enough about sports; and now, politics.

There are 4 leading candidates for the presidency in Chile. Sebastián Piñera, a conservative nationalist is far ahead in the polls and expected to win in November. Some distance behind are 5 other candidates. Alejandro Guilier represents the party of outgoing Michelle Bachelet or the "Concertación" (a coalition of parties of the left). Carolina Goic representing the Christian Democratic Party (that used to be part of the Concentration coalition). Other candidates include Beatriz Sánchez, Jose Antonio Kast and Marco Enríques-Ominami — minor, but entertaining challengers who are not taken very seriously.

Protests — often violent — of, leftist group, especially of students, have intensified — as the left loses its predominance. In response to this loss of power, protestors burn tires in the streets, pee on Christian Democratic posters, and other —not-so-challenging but odd — street activities. Maybe that’s one way of saying “Make Chile yellow again”?

The leftist senator, Alejandro Guilder,  Bachelet's successor, might have been a credible candidate, except that the left is too weak to give Piñera a run for his money (and, he is a very very rich man). A pundit at the convention of leftists candidates claims to have overheard President Bachelet saying" Comrades, a party on its knees cannot aspire to lead anything". One additional observation. If you thought the abortion debate in the US was a political sham,
well then, it's even worse in Chile. This is a conservative, Catholic nation that has politicized the abortion debate to a frenetic degree. Pope Francis is scheduled to visit next January.  He is expected to move the debate toward more significant issues of poverty, immigration and overall religious renewal. The Chilean Catholic Church is stalled and badly needs a jump start. Many are watching to see if Pope Francis can find the right spiritual jumper-cables.

I will soon return to the summer heat of Portland. Today, Saturday, August 12, it is mid-winter in Chile, and the Andes are brilliant as a heavy snowfall during the night transformed these mountains into a dramatic, towering white wall. Eat your heart out, Trump. This wall was free, and it is great!
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