Gabriel Boric, a 30-something who wants to radically transform Chile

Student leader, deputy at 27, president at 35, Gabriel Boric is blowing a youthful wind on Chilean politics. From the benches of the law university in Santiago, this millennial with the thick beard aspires to radically transform his country.

“If Chile was the cradle of neoliberalism in Latin America, it will also be its tomb,” he declared when he declared his candidacy. Since then, the tone has moderated, and now wishes to want to establish in Chile “something which, in Europe, seems fairly obvious: guaranteeing a welfare state so that everyone has the same rights, regardless of the money they have. has in his wallet ”.

An economic model established under the dictatorship

Gabriel Boric built his critique of the democracy in which he grew up and which perpetuated an economic model established under the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) making Chile the most unequal country in the OECD, with a class average debtor to be able to pay the costs of education, health and a private pension.

He is the political heir to the 2019 social uprising for a fairer society that questioned “the development model and asked why what we thought were social rights were being privatized, why education was a privilege and not a right, why there was health care for the rich and the poor, why pensions were a business ”.

Punta Arenas, the gateway to Antarctica

In a relationship with a political scientist, childless, Gabriel Boric is from the far south of Chile, from Punta Arenas, one of the southernmost cities in the world considered the gateway to Antarctica, on the shores of icy waters of Magellan’s narrow. He grew up alongside his two younger brothers in a family sympathetic to the Socialist and Christian Democrats, and studied at his city’s British School before joining the University of Santiago, where he did not finish his studies. graduating.

His father, Luis Boric, a 75-year-old former chemical engineer, says his son began to forge his political ideals at an early age with the messages “let’s be realistic, demand the impossible” or “reason is strength” painted on the wall of his room. His mother said he had always been “opposed to the responsibilities” he took on at school for fear that he would miss his studies. In 2011-2012, Gabriel Boric became president of the Federation of Students of the University of Chile (FECH) during the great student movement calling for a reform of the education system, mainly private.

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Member of Parliament at 27

In 2013, he used the family home as a campaign headquarters for his first legislative fight, bringing together friends and volunteers, and the following year won the seat of deputy for the region of Magallanes. This victory changed his mother’s vision: “I realized that for Gabriel, it was an apostolate and I stopped fighting (…) I wanted a more comfortable, more classic life” for him, says Maria Soledad Font.

“His honesty and transparency, his openness to dialogue, are two of Gabriel’s greatest virtues, and in a future president for Chile, it is crucial,” said of him his brother Simon Boric, a 33-year-old journalist. From an early age, Gabriel Boric had a great love of books and also forged a very strong bond with his roots in Punta Arenas, the city which at the beginning of the 20th century welcomed its migrant, Croatian and Catalan ancestors.

On the arm, the tattoo of a lighthouse lighting up a desert island

“It relaxes me to read a lot,” said the man with the tattooed arm of a lighthouse lighting up a desert island. “I come from the south of Patagonia, where the world begins, where all the stories and the imagination come together, in the Strait of Magellan, which inspired so many beautiful novels”.

In his winning primary campaign on the left, he climbed in front of the cameras on a huge cypress tree, as he did as a child. This image has become the symbol of his campaign. “He isolated himself there, it could be with a book, to reflect or meditate,” says his father.

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