A new Chile, integrated into Latin America

From Santiago

Santiago woke up calm, with a blue sky and a long night. The presidential victory of Gabriel boric, quickly recognized by her opponent Jose Antonio Kast, It calmed down any scenario of speculation, in a continent where some presidential elections became grounds of high tension or destabilization, as happened, for example, in May of this year in Peru. The elected candidate gave a speech before an overflowing Alameda avenue and then left to wake up early and start working on things to come, which is a lot.

The new government will assume internally in a scenario of strong social mobilization of support, high expectations, parity in the Legislative power, a right that showed no inconvenience in nucleating around a Pinochet candidate and that, it can be anticipated, will seek to defend the economic model maintained since the dictatorship scored by Augusto Pinochet. It will be a complex scenario, for which Boric announced in his victory speech that he will “advance with short but firm steps”, within the framework of a “change in the historical cycle”.

The new president did not give names at the moment of who could be the members of his new government, within the framework of a campaign that was carried out by a political coalition between the Broad Front – his space – and the Communist Party, and where, to in turn, there were several moments of rapprochement with members of the former Concertación. Boric has a little less than three months to build the cabinet and take office in what will be a historic day in the country: a 36-year-old president, former student leader, parliamentarian, from a new political generation who entered the scene to question the status quo inherited from the dictatorship.

Latin America

The internal expectation, on the part of progressive sectors and an important part of the left, also has its correlate to international level, in particular in Latin America. Boric’s victory closes a 2021 marked by Pedro’s victories Castillo in Peru, and Xiomara Castro, in Honduras. The new president of Chile thus adds a third center-left president on the continent this year, in the context of the recovery of progressive forces: the continental map today is very different from the one Andrés Manuel López Obrador encountered when he assumed the presidency of Mexico in 2018, or Alberto Fernández in Argentina by winning in 2019 simultaneously with a coup in Bolivia.

This growth of progressive governments on the continent began to have its correlation as a regional integration initiative, for example, at the Summit of the CELAC held in Mexico last September. The perspective of a Boric government seen from that point of view can generate expectation in terms of having support in the leadership integrationist. The statement of Senator Juan Ignacio Latorre, part of the Democratic Revolution within the Broad Front and in charge of the international area in Boric’s campaign command, already anticipated that: “we want to articulate or help articulate, because it will not be something only of Gabriel, a greater coordination from the south of Latin America looking at the world, Asia and the powers such as China and the United States, but with political autonomy “.

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Latorre also affirmed that he is “very expectant of all the political movements that are going to take place in Latin America. Next year we hope that Lula defeats the extreme right (in Brazil), with (Gustavo) Petro in Colombia and that there may be an articulation of several progressive governments. ” The elections in both countries, the first in May, the second in October, will be decisive in terms of the economic, geopolitical and diplomatic importance of both countries, particularly in the Brazilian case.

Boric, unlike Fernández or López Obrador, will take charge of the Chilean presidency at a time of strengthening the progressive forces in terms of the map of governments, and the weakness or disappearance of right-wing initiatives, such as the Group de Lima, created in 2017 in a policy against the government of Nicolás Maduro, or Prosur, created in 2019 after, in a coordinated manner, the right-wing governments of South America have left Unasur.

Will Chile assume a leadership role in this continental scenario with the potential to advance in the strengthening of regional instruments? Or will it remain in the background? It will surely depend on the balance between your agenda of priorities, conceptions, commitments, strengths or internal weaknesses. The case of Peru, whose president took office at the end of July, showed that a scenario of internal fragility can simultaneously lead to losing initiative in foreign policy or having to negotiate that policy more markedly.

For the moment Latorre stated that Boric’s first foreign tour “will probably be Argentina”, a country for which Boric’s victory means the arrival of a government of a close political nature in its neighboring country with access to the Pacific Ocean. Finally, the victory of the new Chilean president is seen from Latin American progressivism, not only as a greater possibility of regional construction, but also as a defeat for the extreme right-wing political forces that, in recent times, have had growth and initiative in several countries. Boric’s victory is thus the defeat of Kast, Jair Bolsonaro, Javier Milei, VOX, or Mario Vargas Llosa who has been supporting candidates systematically defeated at the polls.

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