Gabriel Boric Font of the left-wing Approve Dignity coalition won the presidential run-off held in Chile on December 19 and became the country’s youngest president ever. 35-year-old Boric won the second round of elections with 55.87% of the votes, defeating conservative José Antonio Kast of the far-right Christian Social Front with a margin of more than 11.5% of the votes.
Following the announcement of the results, hundreds of thousands of Chileans took to the streets of the capital Santiago to celebrate Boric’s victory and hear their president-elect’s first speech. In his victory speech, Boric thanked the citizens for their overwhelming support and his resounding triumph. Referring to the impounding of public transport, Boric said that “I also thank the people who tried to vote and were unable to do so due to lack of public transportation” and stressed that “this cannot happen again.”
He also extended his gratitude to Chilean women, who strongly supported him because they feared that Kast’s victory would result in major setbacks in their rights. “I thank the women of our country, who organized themselves throughout the country to defend their hard-earned rights” and promised that they will be “protagonists” in his government that will “leave behind once and for all the patriarchal inheritance of our society.”
Boric ratified his commitment to fighting climate change by boosting green investment, as well as reducing the glaring inequalities in the country by expanding spending on social services and reforming the country’s pension and healthcare systems. “We know there continues to be justice for the rich, and justice for the poor, and we no longer will permit that the poor keep paying the price of Chile’s inequality,” he said.
He emphasized that “respect for human rights is always an unwavering commitment, and that we can never, for any reason, have a president who declares war on his own people. To the victims of human rights violations we say that we will not get tired of seeking truth, justice, reparation and not repetition.”
Mind-blowing scenes in Santiago, where hundreds of thousands have flocked onto the streets to celebrate Gabriel Boric's victory pic.twitter.com/uirvG1mVBg
— John Bartlett (@jwbartlett92) December 20, 2021
Political and social leaders and organizations from across the Latin American and the Caribbean region and the world hailed Boric’s victory.
Argentine president Alberto Fernández was among the first leaders to congratulate Boric. “I want to congratulate Gabriel Boric for having been elected president of the beloved people of Chile. We must assume the commitment to strengthen the bonds of brotherhood that unite our countries and to work together with the region to put an end to inequality in Latin America,” he tweeted.
Bolivian president Luis Arce applauded Boric’s victory. “We welcome the electoral triumph of Gabriel Boric, which is the triumph of the Chilean people. Latin American democracy is strengthened based on unity, respect and, above all, the will of our peoples. Congratulations to the president-elect of Chile!,” he wrote in a tweet.
Likewise, British politician Jeremy Corbyn also expressed his support for Boric. “Huge congratulations to Gabriel Boric, elected as socialist president of Chile! A victory for hope and change. The united people shall never be defeated!,” he tweeted.
Cuban president Miguel Díaz-Canel also sent his best wishes. “Warm congratulations to Gabriel Boric for his election as President of Chile in a historic popular victory. We ratify the will to expand bilateral relations and cooperation between the people and governments of both nations,” he tweeted.
Peruvian president Pedro Castillo also felicitated Boric. “Congratulations on the triumph, my dear friend Gabriel Boric! The victory you have achieved is that of the Chilean people and we, the Latin American people, share it, who want to live with freedom, peace, justice and dignity! Let us continue fighting for the unity of our nations,” said Castillo.
Venezuelan president Nicolás Maduro also sent his greetings. “I congratulate the Approve Dignity coalition for its victory, and the newly elected president of Chile, Gabriel Boric. I salute the people of Salvador Allende and Víctor Jara for their resounding victory over fascism. Great Democratic Day! Long live Chile!,” tweeted Maduro.
Argentine vice president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner, Bolivian vice president David Choquehuanca, former Bolivian president Evo Morales, former Brazilian president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, Colombian president Iván Duque, Cuban foreign minister Bruno Rodriguez, Ecuadorian president Guillermo Lasso, former Ecuadorian president Rafael Correa, Nicaragua president Daniel Ortega, Panamanian president Laurentino Cortizo, Peruvian prime minister Mirtha Vásques, Uruguayan president Luis Lacalle Pou, among numerous others also sent Boric their best wishes. The executive secretary of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Peoples of Our America – Peoples’ Trade Treaty (ALBA-TCP), Sacha Llorenti, similarly extended his congratulations.
The Puebla Group, a political and academic forum made up of progressive presidents, former presidents, political and social leaders from around the world, issued a statement celebrating Boric’s victory. The group highlighted that “his arrival at the government confirms the progressive trend that the region is experiencing and that it is expressed in the need for a new model of economic development, more supportive and democratic. Boric’s triumph also opens new political spaces for the pronouncement of progressive forces in the elections in Brazil and Colombia next year.”
The Progressive International, a platform of progressive leaders, also saluted “the people of Chile for their courage in the struggle against Pinochetismo and their determination to overcome efforts to suppress their vote in Sunday’s election to elect Gabriel Boric to the presidency with the most votes of any president in the country’s history.”