Gabriel Boric, the face of the generation that gave the Chilean Concertación ‘el sorpasso’ | International

Gabriel Boric closes the election campaign to Endorse Dignity in Casablanca, Chile on Thursday, November 18, 2021.MARTIN BERNETTI (AFP)

Gabriel Boric leads the generation of the left that has burst into Chilean politics over the past decade, reversing the situation and virtually ending the center-left Concertation that ruled Chile between 1990 and 2010. Born there 35 years in Punta Arenas – in the far south of Chile -, as a law student at the University of Chile, he was one of those who led the student mobilizations in 2011 that put Sebastián’s first government Piñera on the ropes. But it was in 2012 that it rose to prominence when the Federation of Students of the University of Chile (FECh) was kidnapped from communist Camila Vallejo, one of the main faces of the protest, with which they presented to Congress in 2013.

In March 2014, without a tie or suit and with long hair, Boric made her debut in the Chamber of Deputies, alongside Vallejo herself and two other young student leaders who are no more than 30 years old. Leader of the Social Convergence Party, one of the formations that make up the Large Front, he accepted a candidacy for La Moneda at the beginning of this year, in a race that places him among the favorites today, according to various polls. If the polls are good, he will win the poll of December 19 this Sunday, where he will measure his strength with the conservative candidate, José Antonio Kast.

The rise has been rapid and your detractors have pointed it out to you. “He went through the university between strikes and assemblies, he did not finish his career and from the paternal allowance he passed to parliamentarians,” said Gerardo Varela, who was Minister of Education of Piñera, he a few months ago. He is also often told that he did not get his law degree because he went to the Student Leadership Convention. “The Broad Front is, in a certain sense, an imitation of Podemos, although its leader Gabriel Boric does not wear a ponytail and does not teach at the university since he is not yet a graduate,” he said. writes influential columnist Carlos Peña in an analysis by MRT. Coming from a wealthy family in the Magallanes region, he was born in 1986, so he did not experience the dictatorship, which ended in 1990, in his own flesh. He is the one who has been portrayed as the fearless generation, as he has known the horror of repression through stories and writing, not in the first person like the older ones, in front of those who rebel politically.

From a father who was a member of the Christian Democrats for years – one of the pillars of the center-left Concertación coalition – Boric is part of this generation of Frente Amplio activists who are under 40 and who have settled in policy with a critical judgment of the transition. In 2016, as a deputy, he analyzed the common elements between Podemos in Spain and the Frente Amplio in Chile, due to the processes experienced by the two countries: “Bipartism, neoliberal consensus, little generational change, demobilization of society, progressive privatization of services and social rights ”, he assured in an interview with MRT. Boric said he had closely followed the emergence of Podemos from an electoral point of view, its territorial deployment and its theoretical discussions, as the two groups draw inspiration from the political writings of Ernesto Laclau and Chantal Mouffe on left-wing populisms. Unlike the Spaniards, however, the Chilean Broad Front would give and overtaking to the conventional center-left.

This new left alternative in Chile hides important paradoxes, such as the fact that they are a few inches from reaching the government in the hands of the Communist Party, which maintains its full adherence to the Marxist-Leninist doctrine, even if it is about bowel movements led by young leaders, like Vallejo herself. The two groups – one which will be 100 years old in 2022 and the other which has not yet reached five years old – share a critical look at the years of the Concertation governments, which they describe as neoliberal, although ‘they come from center-left sectors. he himself that they were was leading the way. “The young people of Frente Amplio are children of activists of traditional parties”, recalled Michelle Bachelet a few years ago, referring to several of the leaders in this sector whose parents had important roles in governments between 1990 and 2010.

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In Congress, Boric has arrived with high percentages of the vote – he is running for Magallanes, his land, and his second term ends in March – but he has seen some complex moments, including a certain volatility that criticizes him in his dealings with the leftmost. In 2018, for example, he met in Paris one of those convicted of the democratic murder of right-wing Senator Jaime Guzmán, forcing him to say that he had not relativized Guzmán’s crime and to apologize in person to the parliamentarian’s family. murdered. Then he was embarrassed by the broadcast of a video where he received a T-shirt with Guzmán with a bullet in his forehead as a gift. “Good! Wait!” Boric said upon receiving him. The right-wing UDI party, of which Guzmán was a member, accused him of “apologizing for violence” and MP Boric again apologized: “I have reviewed the video and I was ashamed “.

His leadership began to blossom over the rest of his generation after the social outbreak two years ago. Although he came to the epicenter of the protests in Santiago to reprimand the military guarding the premises, amid an unprecedented wave of violence, Boric played a central role in the political agreement of November 15, 2019, which gave birth to the constituent. road. . Not only did he succeed in bending the Broad Front – unlike the Communist Party, which was withdrawn from the transversal agreement – but he also paid high political costs with his own sector to reach agreements. At the end of this 2019 convulsion, they reprimanded him and attacked him in the middle of the public road, in the center of Santiago: “You sold the people, you traitor”, they told him, while spraying it with beer.

Like Kast in his own sector, Boric has been an unlikely candidate on the left. Although a year ago, he stressed on television that he did not have “enough experience” – according to a phrase that haunted him during the campaign – during the primaries of last July, the The Approve Dignity alliance surprisingly prevailed against Communist candidate Daniel Jadue, who was the favorite according to the polls. In the race for La Moneda, he raised the flag of change and brought into his mill a good part of the socialist activism, which formally supports the candidacy of the Christian Democrat Yasna Provoste. Salvador Allende’s granddaughter, MP Maya Fernández Allende, is among those who have turned to support Chile’s most left-wing presidential candidate since her own grandfather ruled in the 1970s.

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