18 May 2006

INTERVIEW WITH FIRST MOTHER OF CHILE

El Mercurio: About to turn 80 years old, but she looks a lot younger. Agile, sharp, those that know her use adjectives like: intelligent discreet, humble, reserved and a lot of personality as well.

Straightforward and sure of herself, we asked her for an enterview for Mother’s Day, she responded:

Ángela Jeria de Bachelet: ¡Me carga el Día de la Madre!

EM: Later in her home, she explained why.

AJ: I feels it has become a commercial holiday, I commemorate what used to be a very important day. .

EM: In the foreign press you are referred to as the First Lady:

AJ: I never have been nor ever will be the first lady of Chile. A this stage of my life, it is not for me to take up these responsibilities,

EM: She prefers to focus herself “on the internal front: that’s where Michelle needs me.” And, without douby, she is the greatest support in the life of her daughter, the President of Chile.

A suprising thing about her is composure and serenity, even though she has gone through more than any person should have to. The death of her son Alberto of a heart attack and the dramatic end of her husband, General Bachelet, imprisoned and “unjustly accused of treason and tortured by his own comrades.” All of this on top of being imprisoned herself, tortured and sent into exile with her daughter.

On the wall of her living room there is a copper etching of her husband en prison. His two hands gripping the bars of his cell with the inscription: For fighting for liberty, equality and fraternity. Public Prison, January 1974. General Bachelet, prisoner of war.

En el muro de su living-comedor hay un trabajo en cobre hecho por su marido en la cárcel. Dos manos aferradas a los barrotes y la lectura: "Por luchar por la libertad, la igualdad y la fraternidad. Cárcel Pública, enero 1974. General Bachelet, prisionero de guerra".

Talquina de cuna, perdió a su madre cuando tenía 9 años. "Me criaron mi padre, un hombre muy libertario, y mi hermana mayor", cuenta. Licenciada en Arqueología en la U. de Chile, tras cinco años de exilio en Australia primero (donde vivía su hijo) y Alemania luego.