As we near the one-year anniversary of the Chilean mine rescue, it's a good time to reflect on the lessons that event can teach Americans. Many of us are looking for a rescue of our own, from crisis after crisis. It's time for us to learn some lessons about leadership in the face of tremendous adversity - and from an apparently unlikely source.
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My South American trip is in full swing and, again and again, I've been struck by the way that Chile and Brazil, the two countries I'm visiting, have, on key issues, transcended the tired division between left and right the United States seems hopelessly mired in. Chile is led by a president from the right, Brazil by a president from the left. But both have gone beyond stereotypes and shibboleths in order to tackle hard problems. My first stop was Santiago, Chile, where I interviewed President Sebastián Piñera. Piñera is the third richest man in Chile; a former professor with a Ph.D. from Harvard; and the first right-wing president Chileans have elected in the two decades since Pinochet. So it's surprising to learn that his signature goal is the elimination of poverty. "By the end of the decade," he tells me, "we want to have closed the gap in income between rich and poor."