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Post Will the Boric Administration Go Down the Road of Most Latin American Leftist Regimes?
Created by John Eipper on 01/13/22 3:22 AM

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Will the Boric Administration Go Down the Road of Most Latin American Leftist Regimes? (José Ignacio Soler, Venezuela, 01/13/22 3:22 am)

I have read the interview with Chile's president-elect, Gabriel Boric, forwarded by Carmen Negrín on January 11th. Permit me a few comments.

First of all, I was not surprised. Nothing he says deviates from the traditional discourse of any candidate, especially of the left, when he wins an election. Promises and good intentions, many of them of doubtful credibility. I say this based on experience.

This was the case with Hugo Chávez, in Venezuela, in 1998 when he was still a candidate for the presidency. Chávez stated forcefully that he was neither a communist nor a socialist, and made electoral promises of social justice, economic and cultural development, and an educational revolution. He further vowed not to nationalize or expropriate private companies, to decentralize power in the regions, not to perpetuate himself in power, etc.

On the other hand, the words of Fidel Castro are still famous, in 1959, when he proclaimed at the United Nations that "I am not a communist." Previously in 1958 he had declared that "the revolutionary dictatorship must be replaced by a provisional government of an entirely civil nature that normalizes the country and holds general elections within a period of no more than one year," as well as "I have never wanted to socialize or nationalize industry. That is simply a stupid fear of our revolution." Finally, "I am not interested in power. After the victory, I want to return to my hometown and continue my career as a lawyer." It is clear that he lied. History has shown how false these promises turned out to be.

I do not affirm that Boric is of this mendacious nature, but in the case of a convinced communist the suspicions are very strong, and any similarity is not by chance. Time will tell.

Now, his promise to eliminate the private pension funds in Chile rightly has the people concerned. Convert this successful pension system, admired throughout the world, into a public system, increasing the contributions of companies, increasing pensions, guaranteeing a supposed minimum income for all Chileans, regardless of whether they have contributed or not, all without guaranteeing where the funds will come from, is full of risks. To begin with, by becoming a public system, it will be easy prey for the government of the day to dispose of the funds at its convenience. That is a real risk that has already materialized in some countries with public pension funds.

Ultimately, to fulfill all its promises, the Boric administration will need the support of a highly divided congress and senate or, alternatively, a body of constituent laws that gives him full and sufficient powers, with the real risk that its government eventually will turn into an autocratic regime. None of this is implausible when looking at the political developments of many leftist regimes in Latin America.

JE comments:  Yes, time will tell.  Despite his youth, Boric has the advantage of the historical perspective.  Not only can he see the failures of Cuba and Venezuela, but more importantly the experience of Allende half a century ago.  He would be a fool not to have learned from all this--what works and what does not.  And as long as he behaves himself, Boric can count on the US not working actively to undermine his government.

Can anyone give us an update on the Chilean military?  Has it been sufficiently "professionalized" not to present a coup risk?

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