Obama Won't Apologize For CIA Role In Chile.
President Obama today met with Chilean President Michelle Bachelet, who told Mr. Obama he is "an idol" in her country. In a bit of evidence supporting that assertion, members of the Chilean press asked the president for a group photo, a request the president granted.
The event was not simply a love fest: Asked by a reporter if he wanted to apologize for CIA involvement in Chilean elections (elections!? lol, fail), Mr. Obama did not do so.
"I'm interesting in going forward, not looking backward," the president said. "I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world."
"I think there have been times where we've made mistakes, but I think that what is important is looking at what our policies are today and what my administration intends to do in cooperating with the region," added Mr. Obama.
At his joint appearance with Bachelet, which followed a private meeting, the president also announced a partnership with Chile on clean energy and science.
"There is enormous interest, both in the United States and in Chile, on how we can develop solar power and wind power, biofuels and a whole host of other clean energy strategies that will make the people of both countries more prosperous and less dependent on imported energy needs," he said. "So we are going to be starting a cooperative project in Chile on this issue."
"In addition, we think that there's tremendous possibilities for cooperation on science and technology," continued the president. "And so, a specific project that we've discussed is a cancer research center that can help us make progress on that deadly disease."
Bachelet said Chile had been working with the U.S. Centers For Disease Control on combating flu.
"Whatever is learned from Chile, we have good diagnostic capacities, good registration capacity, will be of help for future treatments here in the United States for vaccine use and so on," she said.
Q Mr. President, yes, I’d like to ask you, I realize that your agenda is moving forward. But I’d like to ask you, President Bachelet in a previous trip to the United States made echo of an old joke: "There’s never been a coup d’état in the United States, because there’s no American embassy." The point being that almost --
PRESIDENT BACHELET: That was a joke from an American guy. (Laughter.) I just said it was a good joke.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Yes, it is. (Laughter.)
Q The point being that almost no Latin American nation has been free from CIA -- bloody CIA intervention, Chile being a prime example, President Bachelet being one of its victims. Is it time for a historical apology?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, look, I think you answered your own question right at the beginning, which is I’m interested in going forward, not looking backward. I think that the United States has been an enormous force for good in the world. I think there have been times where we’ve made mistakes. But I think that what is important is looking at what our policies are today, and what my administration intends to do in cooperating with the region.
And I was very clear in Trinidad and Tobago at the Summit of the Americas that we are interested in a partnership in which we are focused on, how can we improve the day-to-day living standards of ordinary people? And that that focus on human development is one that transcends boundaries, should transcend ideologies. I don’t have a litmus test in terms of, you know, whether a government is center-right, center-left, this or that. My approach is if the United States is working together with a country to promote the well-being, the health, the education, the economic opportunities of people in both countries, then we’re going to have a good relationship. And I’m confident that we are moving in that direction and I think that Chile is going to be an excellent partner in that process.
As President Bachelet mentioned -- you know, I think this -- the flu situation is a good example of what the 21st century is going to look like. There are no borders on the flu. This is not an American problem or a Mexican program or a Chilean problem; this is a world problem. And given that the flu season is happening now in the southern hemisphere, if we get good information and we’re both assisting countries in the southern hemisphere, but also learning from the data that is being generated, that will then help the people of the United States. And it’s a good metaphor, I think, for a whole range of issues -- from climate change to poverty to terrorism -- whatever the issue, so many of these issues now cross borders. We can’t look at them in isolation, and that, I think, is going to be the basis for a strong working relationship in the future.
Honestly, I get he's been criticized a lot for all the ~apologizing~ and that the opposition would turn this into yet another pathetic "evidence" that he's not patriotic, but as a Latin American I really think his answer could've been much better, ngl.
ETA: LOL, people. Nobody holds him personally responsible or is expecting him to drop to his knees begging for forgiveness in a formal statement on behalf of the American people. An indirect ackowldegment would be sufficient. But this is a serious subject (that was never properly addressed imo), it wasn't that long ago at all and I'm sorry, but what we've been given so far isn't all that far from the video in this link.