Q24N – Several Latin American leaders welcomed this Sunday the victory of the young leftist Gabriel Boric over the far-right José Antonio Kast in the second round of the presidential election in Chile.
From Cuba to Argentina, passing through Mexico, Nicaragua, Venezuela and Peru, leftist governments expressed their great satisfaction at the triumph of Boric, of the Apruebo Dignidad (Approve Dignity) coalition, which brings together his Frente Amplio (Broad Front) party and also the Partido Comunista (Communist Party).
But he was also congratulated by the right-wing presidents like the Colombian Iván Duque, the center-right like the Ecuadorian Guillermo Lasso and the Uruguayan Luis Lacalle Pou.
In this second round, Boric, 35 years old and who will be the youngest president of Chile, attracted the support of all the parties of the center-left to win against Kast, an admirer of the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) opposed to abortion and equal marriage, which proposed order after the street demonstrations of 2019 and neoliberal continuity.
Cuban President Miguel Díaz-Canel congratulated Boric on his Twitter account for a “historic popular victory” and ratified his willingness to expand bilateral cooperation with the new government that will replace that of center-right President Sebastián Piñera.
With 99.47% of the votes counted, Boric obtained 55.86% of the votes, more than 11 points over his rival Kast, 55, who quickly admitted his defeat.
Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro congratulated Boric and greeted “the people of (the late socialist president) Salvador Allende and of (the singer and socialist militant assassinated by the Pinochet dictatorship) Víctor Jara for their resounding victory over fascism.”
Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and his wife, Vice President Rosario Murillo, also mentioned in their congratulations Allende, who was overthrown by Pinochet on September 11, 1973, and who committed suicide that same day, in the midst of the military bombardment that the dictator led to the government house.
“With respect and joy we salute his historic triumph, achieved with the brave Chilean people, inspired by the ever-present legacy of the President of Dignity, Salvador Allende, and of so many heroes and martyrs of that great people,” said the presidential couple in a release.
Argentine President Alberto Fernández, a left-wing Peronist, congratulated Boric and asked him in a tweet to “work together (…) to end inequality in Latin America.” Then he spoke with him on the phone for 10 minutes and invited him to visit Argentina on his first trip abroad.
“The victory you have achieved is that of the Chilean people and it is shared by the Latin American peoples who want to live with freedom, peace, justice, and dignity! Let’s continue fighting for the unity of our nations,” the left-wing Peruvian president asked him. Pedro Castillo, also on his Twitter account.
The former president of Brazil Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva (Workers’ Party, left), whom the polls give as the winner of the 2022 elections in his country in a possible first-round against the current far-right president Jair Bolsonaro, assured that he remains “Happy for another victory of a democratic and progressive candidate in our Latin America, for the construction of a better future for all”.
“Great good news from Chile!” Said Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard on Twitter.
Colombian President Iván Duque (right) expressed his interest “in continuing to work together to strengthen the historic and fraternal bilateral relationship that unites us” by congratulating Boric. “We are brother countries,” he reminded her on his account on the same social network.
“I congratulate the elected president of Chile, @gabrielboric and wish him success for the good of the Chilean people,” Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou tweeted from his side.
The president of Ecuador, Guillermo Lasso, expressed on Twitter “a fraternal greeting to the Chilean people” and wished Boric “success in managing him for the well-being of his people.”
Chilean far-right presidential candidate Jose Antonio Kast conceded defeat to leftist Gabriel Boric late Sunday.
“I just spoke with Gabriel Boric and congratulated him on his great success,” Kast tweeted. “From today he is the elected President of Chile and deserves all our respect and constructive collaboration. Chile is always first.”
Acabo de hablar con @gabrielboric y lo he felicitado por su gran triunfo. Desde hoy es el Presidente electo de Chile y merece todo nuestro respeto y colaboración constructiva. Chile siempre está primero 🇨🇱✌️ pic.twitter.com/AvpBKs0GFT
— José Antonio Kast Rist 🇨🇱 (@joseantoniokast) December 19, 2021
“We are united,” Boric tweeted shortly after his election victory was confirmed. “We are hope. We are more when we are together. We continue!”
Who were the two candidates?
Voters were choosing between Boric, 35, a millennial former student protest leader who has vowed to raise taxes on the “super rich” and Kast, 55, a devout Catholic and father of nine who has repeatedly defended the country’s former dictator Augusto Pinochet.
Kast’s brother, Miguel, was one of Pinochet’s top advisers. His candidacy was haunted by revelations that his German father was a member of the Nazis.
Why was there a runoff?
In the first round, both Boric and Kast drew less than 30% of the vote with Kast ahead of Boric by 2%, forcing the runoff. Boric, however, held the capital Santiago with a comfortable lead.
Both candidates are outside the centrist middle, which has ruled Chile since the country returned to democracy in 1990 after the years of military rule under Pinochet.