The Chilean president, Gabriel Boric, and his predecessors Sebastián Piñera (2010-2014 and 2018-2022), Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010 and 2014-2018), Ricardo Lagos (2000-2006) and Eduardo Frei (1994-2000) signed this Thursday a declaration in favor of democracy and the protection of human rights within the framework of the commemoration of the 50 years of the coup d’état.
Boric appreciated that the ex-presidents have been available to have a commitment to democracy and to “always unrestricted respect for human rights.”
The text “Commitment: for democracy, always”, promoted by Boric, the first president to be born after the military rebellion, includes four points: “care for and defend democracy”, “face the challenges of democracy with more democracy” , “the defense and promotion of human rights” and “strengthening collaboration between States”.
“Let us take care of memory because it is the anchor of the democratic future that our people demand,” the text closes.
The agreement between leaders comes ahead of the official ceremony that the Government is preparing for next Monday, which only Bachelet will attend. Piñera declined the invitation on Wednesday, while Lagos and Frei, both heads of state during the Concertación, the coalition that led the transition after the 17 years of dictatorship, had done so before.
“I’m not going to La Moneda (government headquarters) because the climate that has occurred this week, of so much confrontation, so much division, did not make it possible,” explained the former conservative president this morning at an event at the Andrés Bello University. Frei will not attend because he is out of the country that day and Lagos, for his part, is on medical leave due to a fall.
Chilean President Gabriel Boric and former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera together in Paraguay. Photo EFE
Several world leaders will also participate in the event, which will be held in a square next to the presidential palace, such as the Mexican Andrés Manuel López Obrador, the Colombian Gustavo Petro, the Argentine Alberto Fernández, the Uruguayan Luis Lacalle Pou and the Portuguese António Costa.
This September 11 marks 50 years since General Augusto Pinochet led a coup against the government of socialist President Salvador Allende (1970-1973), who committed suicide in the La Moneda presidential palace before being caught by troops .
The commemoration of the anniversary is generating great polarization and tension in Chile and Boric last week described the atmosphere as “electric.” Both the extreme right of the Republican Party and the traditional right-wing coalition, Chile Vamos, to which Piñera belongs, flatly refused to sign a transversal declaration of the Executive and the rest of the political parties in favor of democracy, in the same line as the sealed commitment today.
Instead, the conglomerate presented its own text, without mentioning the dictatorship or the coup d’état, and insisted on also condemning what they consider “violations of fundamental rights” that occurred during Allende’s Popular Unity government. Chile Vamos also announced that it will not attend the commemorative event.
The coup d’état began a cruel 17-year dictatorship that left a balance of more than 40,000 victims, including at least 3,200 assassinated opponents.