A heck of a way to cut down the length of a speech,
Three large aftershocks from last month’s massive earthquake struck just as Chile’s new president took power, delivering a tangible reminder that the forces that dominated his predecessor’s final days will also shape Sebastián Piñera’s new conservative administration.
Mr. Piñera, a 60-year-old billionaire elected on a pledge to run Chile like a business, was traveling by car to his inauguration in the port city of Valparaiso late Thursday morning when one 6.9 magnitude quake hit. Two more struck later, prompting officials to rush through the swearing-in ceremony, cancel the postinauguration luncheon, and evacuate the congress building of assembled dignitaries, who included Spain’s Crown Prince Felipe and Colombian President Álvaro Uribe.
Outside, in an impromptu press conference, Mr. Piñera’s first act as president was to announce a tsunami warning. “Citizens who live on the coast, please follow the preventive tsunami alert,” Mr. Piñera said. “The most important thing right now is making sure everyone is safe,”
There were no reports of tsunamis or fatalities from the aftershocks, and the alert was lifted in the early afternoon.
It’s a testament to Chile’s infrastructure that a 6.9 earthquake did so little damage, particularly after the prior two recent earthquakes – the 8.8 earthquake two Saturdays ago, and the 6.0 aftershock last week.
The Journal made an error in the caption for the above photo, where they say,
At the inauguration, Bolivian President Evo Morales, left, President Fernando Lugo of Paraguay, center, and Peru’s President Alan Garcia, right, joked that the aftershocks gave them “a moment to dance.”
The man on the right (but only in the photo, not politically) is Rafael Correa, president of Ecuador.