Latin America & Caribbean

Chilean girl appeals to president to be allowed to die

President Michelle Bachelet poses for a selfie with Valentina Maureira at a hospital in Santiago, Chile, 28 Feb 2015 Image copyright AP
Image caption Chile's President Michelle Bachelet poses with Valentina Maureira after the girl appealed to her to authorize euthanasia.

A video posted online by a 14-year-old girl asking Chile's president to allow her to die has been viewed by thousands of people.

The girl, Valentina Maureira, suffers from cystic fibrosis, an incurable genetic disorder that attacks the lungs and other organs.

President Michele Bachelet responded by visiting Valentina in hospital.

Her spokesman said Valentina could not be granted her wish but the government would pay for psychiatric treatment.

Valentina's message has been viewed thousands of times on social networks, fuelling the debate in Chile over euthanasia, which is forbidden by law.

"I asked to speak urgently with the president, because I am tired of living with this disease." she said.

She also said she had an older brother who died of the same illness when he was six years old so she knew what would happen to her.

Her parents are supporting her demand. "This is so tough, but I have to respect her decision because she's the one who's suffering this illness," AP quoted her father Fredy as saying.

Cystic fibrosis attacks the lungs and makes it difficult to breathe, among other symptoms.

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