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Daughters of Dictators Jump into Politics

Posted October. 10, 2007 07:22,   


The eldest daughter of Augusto Pinochet, former Chilean despotic president who maintained a tight grip on the Latin American country for 17 years, made an official announcement to run for general elections on October 8.

Lucia Pinochet said that she will run for the 2009 general elections to become a federal legislator in the Chamber of Deputies and vowed to fight against all suspicions and criticism cast on her family in the National Congress.

The announcement came amid her being released on bail only a day after she had been arrested on charges of embezzling millions of dollars worth of public fund with her family. Chilean authorities are investigating into an allegation that former President Pinochet misappropriated a total of over $25 million during his term.

It is not just Chile where a dictator’s daughter, who had enjoyed a luxurious life while her father was in office, jumped into politics by using his fame and political asset. The much-criticized dictators’ descendents attempt to “reclaim honor” through becoming a politician, but this has sparked huge controversy.

In Peru, with former President Alberto Fujimori’s trial scheduled for next month, his daughter Keiko Fujimori is receiving much attention. Keiko Fujimori, a lawmaker who recorded an unprecedented 600,000 votes nationwide in the last general elections, is gunning for the next Peruvian presidency.

Former President Fujimori is suspected of two rounds of kidnapping and massacre, misappropriation of public funds, and bribing opposition lawmakers during his 10-year term. He fled overseas seven years ago, but was repatriated last month and is now in a detention camp located in the capital Lima.

From Keiko’s perspective, her father is a “leader who fought against terrorism and brought peace to the country.” She went to the airport with over 700 supporters to greet the repatriated father on September 23.

Amid continued economic recession, the public’s nostalgia of the past years when Fujimori was in power has become the biggest stepping stone for Keiko to engage in politics. A recent public survey found that as much as 23 percent of Peruvians wanted him to come back.

The former dictator said last month, “Even if I cannot run for the next presidency, another Fujimori will go for it,” hinting at his daughter’s presidential aspirations.

Imee Marcos, daughter of Filipino dictator Ferdinand Marcos, is already a third-term politician.

In July, she was under heavy criticism for filing a lawsuit with the government to reclaim $10 billion out of her father’s fortune.

The government of the Philippines has yet to finalize the redemption of the huge amount of money allegedly misappropriated by the former leader.

Raghad Hussein, the eldest daughter of Saddam Hussein who once expressed her ambition for politics, though is keeping a low profile now.

Raghad Hussein told an Arab news media that she is considered as Saddam’s successor by many Iraqis and that politics is her future as well as her life.

Unlike these women, a daughter of Fidel Castro, Cuban president of the Council of State, disapproves of her father. Alina Fernandez has publicly bashed Fidel Castro through various speeches and publications, since she went into exile to the U.S. in disguise as a Spanish tourist.