The publication of the Pandora Papers, the investigation of the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, brought back a controversial case involving the president of Chile, Sebastian Piñera. His family had a good percentage of the shareholding of the Dominga mining project until, in 2010 – when he was already president – they finished selling it to a person from his inner social circle in a tax haven.
In addition to an ethical issue, the controversy lies in the fact that the last payment of the purchase was subject to a condition: “It would only be done if the State did not declare the area where it was intended to develop a natural reserve. Dominga”. And indeed, the government of Pinera “did not promote environmental protectionOf the place.
“I find it absolutely unacceptable to use information already known and on which the courts have already ruled”, The president apologized about the case that, in 2017, ruled in his favor.
On the impact of these disclosures, the Chilean sociologist Axel Callís comments: “Public opinion knows in depth the essence of Sebastian Piñera. Therefore, this confirms the problems that he has dragged on since he became a senator, the problems of being a billionaire converted to politics.”.
For Callís, the population was always aware of the conflict of interest in the management of Pinera. “The perception that most of us have is that his main drive was money rather than politics itself, and that is precisely what colors the last part of his term.”.
What the Pandora Papers They are, in good romance, one more line to the tiger and it works, for Callís, as a reminder about a subject that went almost unnoticed in 2017.
The hardest hours of Piñera
The Pandora Papers they are one more blow to an unpopular president, who is already considered by many to be the worst since democracy returned to Chile. For Andrés Jouannet, Professor of Political Science at the Catholic University of Chile, is one more chapter in the end of Sebastián Piñera as a politician.
“The finale began on October 18, 2019 with the social outbreak. Let us remember that this happened due to the bad decisions of the government and that, in addition, while Santiago was on fire, the president ate a pizza in a wealthy restaurant in the city”.
It was a sign that ended up burying his popularity. “In all this time he never managed to exceed 15 points in the polls, so what happens today is the reaffirmation that, politically, he is no longer loved”.
If to that is added that he did not fulfill his promise to reassure the Araucanía, failures during much of the first year of the coronavirus pandemic (although now he tries to leave a high vaccination rate) and the various interior ministers who have paraded through the cabinet of his second term in command of Chile, the balance is negative.
“In his first government, Pinera he was a popular man. His government, although it had nothing to do with it, did well to rescue the miners. But, in his second term, what is being ratified is the distance between him and the citizens, and that is seen in his public policies”.
Goodbye to the politician Piñera?
About the end of his career as a politician Sebastian Piñera, Callís notes: “I would say that bad memory is a common denominator in Latin America and, therefore, there are no deaths in politics”.
“But more than because of his business or the conflict of interest, I agree that Piñera is going to go down in history as the worst ruler since the return of democracy.”.
“Now, his big problem will be, if the case arises, to face the Chilean and international courts for the Human Rights violations, many of them accredited, during the social outbreak.”.
Jouannet does not see much sense in him that now, with the presidential elections about to take place (November 21), he is being impeached for the Dominga mining. The specialist says that, in any case, “the judgment will be that of history”.
“From a legal point of view, he can defend himself perfectly. What is in question is objective ethical relativism: in his first term, he owned a television channel and Lan Chile, and when you are president your shares are sold at a better price”.
“Ethical relativism in politics and economics has been one of the characteristics of Pinera: he never separated his business from his management in front of the country. And it is unfortunate because presidents have to show an ethical standard much higher than the rest. For something Pinera he was the nation’s first citizen”.