Biography of Michelle Bachelet Jería (1951-VVVV)

Chilean politics born on 29 September 1951 with the name of Jería Verónica Michelle Bachelet in Santiago. He/She was Minister of health and defense in the Executive of Ricardo Lagos, before becoming the first woman to gain access to the headquarters of the Chilean State, after his victory in the presidential elections of 2006.

Daughter of a brigadier general of the air force and an archaeologist, Bachelet graduated in medicine and later specialized in military sciences. The first years of his childhood had passed in different towns of the country, to meet the parent labor destinations, and from 1962 to 1963 the family settled in the United States.

On his return to Chile, Michelle studied the schools in the capital and in 1970 began his university education. In those years, during the Popular unity Government, he/she joined the Socialist Youth, which was led by Carlos Lorca Tobar, and took charges of student representation. On campus witnessed the military assault of the Palacio de la Moneda, that on September 11, 1973 overthrew the democratic Government of Salvador Allende.

The day of the coup, general Alberto Bachelet, who worked as head of the State Bureau of food distribution, was arrested accused of treason to the homeland. Captured and tortured, he/she died six months later in the public prison. On January 10, 1975, his wife, Ángela Jeria, and his daughter, Michelle, were also arrested. Two agents of the DINA [ Pinochet'sdreaded political police] brought them to Villa Grimaldi, the place where thousands of Chileans were tortured during the dictatorship. The freedom recovered weeks later, mother and daughter traveled as exiled to Australia, where they met with Alberto, the only brother of Michelle, and later the German Democratic Republic.

In Berlin, Michelle was unable to continue his studies of medicine and on his return to Chile, in 1979, returned to the classrooms of the Santiago School of medicine. He/She graduated as a medical doctor in 1982 but his request to meet plaza in the public health system was denied for political reasons. A training scholarship allowed him, in the following four years, specializing in Pediatrics and public health. He/She did not abandon his political activism and worked at an NGO in child protection, exercised by specific work with the children of detainees and missing persons in Santiago and Chillán.

Restored democracy in 1990 with the triumph of the forces of the coalition of parties for democracy (CPPD) and President of the Christian Democrat Patricio Aylwin, Bachelet joined as epidemiologist of the health Metropolitan West service. He/She then joined the national AIDS Commission, at the time who had served of consulting in the who and the Pan American Health Organization. His responsibilities in the public sphere increased since 1994, already with Eduardo Frei in the Palacio de la Moneda, when he/she joined the Ministry of health team as Advisor of primary care and health services management.

The political unrest of Bachelet in the last decade of the century was aimed towards the normalization of relations between the civil and military in a country that had just been abandoned 17 years of fierce dictatorship. Driven by the need to know institutional correlations between both estates, he/she took a course on military strategy and won a scholarship to complete specialized studies in military defence in Washington. When he/she returned to Chile in 1998, his new training allowed him to merge as Advisor to the Ministry of defence.

Meanwhile, his ascension is hold in the ranks of the Socialist Party. In 1995 he/she was elected member of the Central Committee and between 1998 and 2000 was part of its policy Committee. He/She assumed responsibilities of first order at the forefront of the election campaign of Ricardo Lagos, President of Chile after his victory in the elections of January 2000-become, it was named Minister of health. The reform of the health system and the improvement of primary health care concentrated major efforts during his tenure. After the reform of cabinet which undertook lakes in 2002, Bachelet was appointed head of the Ministry of defence; a charge that no other woman had served previously in Latin America. During his tenure, he/she promoted plans for modernization of the armed forces [FACH] and the Ministry, encouraged measures for gender equality in the security forces and introduced important changes in the obligatory military service.

Bachelet left the Defense portfolio on October 1, 2004 to prepare his candidature for the presidential elections. Even with many months ahead, opinion polls supported favourably to the former Minister as candidate of the Coalition [PPD / PS] to the head of State. The forecasts were met and Bachelet won in the first round [45.9%], held on 11 December 2005, although it failed enough support to avoid a new query. The triumph of his political brand in the legislative, convened on the same day, placed the Chilean centre-left majority in Congress and, for the first time since the restoration of democracy, also in the Senate. The second round of the elections held on January 15, 2006, Bachelet managed a comfortable victory with the backing of the 53,49% of the votes compared with 46,51% of its rival, the right-wing Sebastián Piñera.

The last day of the month of January, the President-elect introduced his promised joint Cabinet and on March 11, 2006 his predecessor imposed the presidential sash. In a country that still had traces of a strong conservative, sexist and clerical tradition at the dawn of the 21st century, Bachelet reached La Moneda without hiding its credentials to the Chilean people: "I am woman, divorcee and Socialist, agnostic". He/She promised to launch his Government's programme in 100 days, with reforms of large magnitude in areas such as the electoral system and social security.