It will be an express visit. It will go and return in the course of the same day. ButAlberto Fernández considers that he will be able to have an essential regional ally in Gabriel Boric. That is why he awaits with great expectation the trip he will make this Friday, March 11, to Chile to participate in the inauguration of the Chilean president who will succeed Sebastián Piñera.
The delegation that will accompany him on the other side of the mountain range has not yet been fully defined. Chancellor Santiago Cafiero, some of the ministers, legislators and governors will surely be there, as usually happens on trips that are short in length and duration. Due to lack of time, it is unlikely that there will be bilateral meetings with other leaders.
Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, capacity at Boric’s inauguration ceremony will be limited to only 500 people, who must have their complete vaccination schedule. Seats will be placed instead of chairs so that social distancing is respected.
The Argentine president and his entourage will spend a few hours in Chilean territory. The inauguration program contemplates that at 12 o’clock the ceremony of transmission of the presidential command to Boric will take place in the Honorable National Congress that works in Valparaíso and that an hour and a half later there will be a lunch offered by Boric and his wife in honour of the Heads of State and/or Government present, at the Cerro Castillo Presidential Palace located in Viña del Mar, 140 kilometers to the south, and used as a rest residence by all Chilean presidents. Then the traditional “family photo” will be taken.
Foreign Minister Cafiero explained in December, a few hours after Boric’s victory, in a talk with journalists organized by the Argentine Council for International Relations (CARI), that Argentina’s intention would be to strengthen gas exports to Chile, promote the installation of an overseas cable that could reach Australia to increase trade with Asian countries and try to increase trade between the two countries.
Both Alberto Fernández and Vice President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner welcomed Boric’s victory in the elections through their social networks. “I wish the best for you and for Chile. Here you have a friend and you are invited to come to Argentina whenever you want, and hopefully, your first trip will be to Argentina ”, wrote the President who also spoke by telephone with the then president-elect for ten minutes to congratulate him on the victory. He also told him on that occasion: “The region needs us to take care of ourselves and work together.”
Boric, in that contact, undertook to visit Argentina on his first trip abroad.
During the electoral campaign heading into the second round, the Argentine ambassador in Santiago, Rafael Bielsa, had caused a serious diplomatic problem when he described one of the candidates, the right-wing José Antonio Katz, as “Pinochetist and xenophobic.” Argentina, after some talks with Chilean Foreign Minister Andrés Allamand, decided to keep Bielsa in his position.
Boric, barely 36 years old and a former student leader during the popular revolts that put Sebastián Piñera in check in 2009, will become the youngest president of the trans-Andean country. With the alliance, I Approve Dignity, Boric, who added several leftist groups that were grouped in the Broad Front to his Social Convergence party, beat Kast in the ballot by 12 points difference on December 19, 2021. In the first round, the far-right candidate won by 27.9% to 25.8%.
In January, the president-elect announced the formation of his cabinet in which it is emphasized that women are the majority. Boric elected 14 female ministers and 10 male ministers. One of his most surprising appointments was that of Finance Minister Mario Marcel, who was director of the Chilean Central Bank during Piñera’s administration.
The other presidents who will be at the inauguration
Other leaders who have already confirmed their presence for Friday are Luis Lacalle Pou (Uruguay), Pedro Castillo (Peru) and Luis Arce (Bolivia). Boric also invited two opponents of the Daniel Ortega regime in Nicaragua, writers Sergio Ramírez and Gioconda Belli (exiled in Spain), who will be two of the 26 special guests at the ceremony. One of the presidents who declined the invitation was the Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, who already confirmed in mid-January that he would not be there, perhaps to avoid a clash with his opponent for this year’s presidential elections in Brazil, Lula Da Silva.
Although both belong to left-wing parties in Latin America, Lula also decided not to participate in the act along with Boric. The one who did accept was the Colombian Gustavo Petro, an aspiring by Historical Pact to win the internship in his country that will allow him to compete for the presidency on May 29.
Another important figure who will be in Chile will be the King of Spain, Felipe VI, who will arrive accompanied by the second vice president of that nation and Minister of Labor and Social Economy, Yolanda Díaz: the Minister of Equality, Irene Montero and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, European Union and Cooperation, José Manuel Albares.
Alberto Fernández has been in two presidential inaugurations of South American presidents since he took office in December 2019. In July of last year he travelled to Lima for the swearing-in of Pedro Castillo and before, in November 2020, he had attended that of Luis Arce in Peace. In May 2021 he did not go to Guillermo Lasso’s in Ecuador because at that time the Argentine health situation due to the pandemic was going through the second wave. That is why the then chancellor Felipe Solá did it in his representation.