Chile: Gabriel Boric appointed a human rights expert as chief of staff.

The elected president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, appointed the expert on human rights and indigenous movements Matías Meza-Lopehandía as his new chief of staff. Meza-Lopehandía, a lawyer and a member of Convergencia Social, was one of the key advisers in Boric’s presidential campaign. He served as executive secretary of the political team of the electoral command and supervised the drafting of the government plan of the future administration. So far no further names of possible officials and authorities who will accompany Boric in the government, although former student leader promised to build a “parity” and “diverse” cabinet.

Who is Matías Meza-Lopehandía?

Meza-Lopehandía is a member of Convergencia Social, Boric’s party integrated into the Frente Amplio bloc, and has a master’s degree in Human Rights from the London School of Economics and Political Science, in the United Kingdom. Previously studied law at the Catholic University, and was president of the Student Center of said race.

It was in that context, between 2004 and 2005, where Meza-Lopehandía met a young Boric, with whom she established a relationship after participating in the Student Autonomous group, as stated in an interview for the magazine The Clinic. From that date to the present, Meza-Lopehandía has been one of Boric’s trusted men, coming to work in the presidential campaign.

“In the command I worked mainly on the government plan during the first stage and later as executive secretary of the political team”The 41-year-old lawyer told the aforementioned Chilean media. He also revealed that, after the second round, he proposed some guidelines for Boric’s speech: “I gave some ideas, but not the speech. And I know that what the president said was finally something that he wrote, that he did, what he dedicates himself to”.

Born in the capital Santiago, Meza-Lopehandía currently lives in Valparaíso, where he works as researcher and parliamentary advisor to the Library of National Congress (BCN). From this space he has carried out a series of investigations and publications for two commissions: the Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Commission and the Human Rights, Nationality and Citizenship Commission.

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The chief of staff is in charge of managing the president’s agenda, thus being a key person in the president’s day-to-day life. Currently that position is held by Magdalena Díaz and she is the one behind the affairs of the current head of state, Sebastián Piñera.

Some clues from the new cabinet

Boric, who will assume the presidency on March 11, confirmed that he will announce his future cabinet the penultimate week of January and that this it will be “a synthesis of the different generations”, “parity” and “with social diversity”.

“We are looking for a representation that is equal, where there are the trained and most prepared people to carry out the leadership of the different portfolios,” said Boric on Monday during an act of the Election Qualifying Court (Tricel), in Santiago. “That there is a synthesis between the different generations that are today struggling to build a better country (…) That it has social diversity seems to me that it is also relevant, “added the president-elect in a press conference after the event.

“It is important that the cabinet represents a balance, it is a complicated puzzle to put together”, highlighted Boric, who with only 35 years and more than 4.6 million votes became the youngest and most voted president-elect in the history of Chile on December 19. The still deputy for the southern Magellan won by 55.8 percent of the votes and by a overwhelming majority of almost 12 points of difference to the far-right José Antonio Kast in the most uncertain elections of the Chilean democracy.

Defender of the constituent process in which the country is immersed and staunch critic of the neoliberal model installed during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), the president-elect promises a profound agenda of changes to expand the role of the State towards a welfare state similar to that of Europe. Boric will take office on March 11 to replace the outgoing president, the right-wing Sebastián Piñera.


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