“I come from afar, almost touching Antarctica“. That remoteness from the centers of power gave Gabriel Boric the advantage of the unknown and underrated. He was born in Punta Arenas, the extreme south of Chile, some 3,000 kilometers south of Santiago, on February 11, 1986, nothing less than the toughest year of the confrontation with the general’s dictatorship. Augusto Pinochet. It is, therefore, a product of transition and a time of rupture. The first millennial president, combative and enlightened. You can gloss the poets Nicanor Parra and Vicente Huidobro or take a selfie from the stage with the crowd behind you, the night of your electoral consecration.
From a mother born in Badalona and married to the feminist militant Irina Karamanos, Boric was born in a home where the ideology of the Democracy Cristina. It was his turn, like many, to stage a constant in Chile after the first 20 years of democratic transition: the generational conflict. The children complained to the parents not only what they had done during the lead years. The reproach was also related to the limits that the Concertación had imposed on itself to govern a country whose matrix had been forged with an iron code by Pinochetism. Young people like Boric had not lived through the dictatorship and that is why they were irritated with the “complacent” Y “flagellants“As the sectors in the Government that justified moderation for the sake of economic growth were called. Young people wanted to give politics another speed. Boric was educated politically in the student protests that he faced first. Michelle bachelet – the so-called “penguin revolution” -, and the subsequent mobilizations of the sector that in 2011 put the first government of Sebastian Piñera.
But it was in 2012 when he achieved visibility by winning the leadership of the Federation of Students of the University of Chile (FECh) to the communist Camila vallejo, one of the main faces of the protest. It would not be the first time that it would defeat that party: in fact, it won last July’s primaries against the favorite Daniel Jadue and was left with the leadership of the left.
Congress and the street
He had entered the Chamber of Deputies in 2014 as part of the opposition from the left to the second Bachelet government that was gathered in the Wide Front. Some members of this heterogeneous space, including Boric himself, then knew how to view with sympathy the beginnings of We can in Spain. They considered it an alternative to bipartisanship.
The social outbreak November 2019 was a historic break in Chile. The ruling elite and traditional parties lost legitimacy. A new political subject broke into the streets who no longer had any attachment to the institutional past. Boric, like many leaders his age, viewed the insurrection with sympathy. Unlike many fellow travelers, he considered that the discomfort should be channeled institutionally and, therefore, against the dominant opinion of the left, he bet in favor of a constituent Assembly that could change the face of an unequal and tired country. Time proved him right and allowed him to build his candidacy when few believed in his possibilities.
The stumble in the first round has forced him to moderate his program. Boric knew how to understand the historical crossroads. Above all, the extreme right could not win. That is why he received the support of the leaders of the Concertación. In their own way, in this gesture, the “parents” understood that there was no other alternative than to follow their children. “I feel like heir to a long historical trajectory, those who sought justice and the protection of freedoms, this is my big family that I want to see reunited again, “he said.
With Boric, Chile is once again a laboratory of the Latin American left. It is not a 21st century version of the Popular Unity, by Salvador Allende. While it does not deny the great names of the past, it differs markedly in several programmatic aspects: the environmental issue, feminism and, especially, the issue of freedoms, diversity and human rights. It feels a lot closer to Greta Thunberg of those who still have their gaze fixed on the sixties. That is why he has criticized the repression in Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela. Not in vain did he say this Sunday: “enough of enlightened despotism, of those who believe that a government can be made for the people, but without the people. ”
Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.