President Boric in his first speech to the Chilean people: “We want ministers out on terrain, in the streets, standing with the people”
Thousands of people accompanied the President outside of La Moneda Palace, to listen to the first speech of his administration. In his address, he stressed the leading role that the Chilean people will play in the great transformations that will take place.
Accompanied by thousands of people, who filled the Plaza de la Constitución in downtown Santiago, President Gabriel Boric addressed the nation for the first time.
In his address, the President emphasized the part that the Chilean people played in electing his government and stressed the challenges and great transformations that will be promoted to make Chile a fairer country.
“You are a leading part of this process; the Chilean people have led this process. We wouldn’t be here if you hadn’t mobilized. And I want you to know that we aren’t here to fill positions and have fun or to distance ourselves so that we can’t be reached. We’re here to give body and soul to our commitment to make life better for our country”, he began.
“Balmaceda, who spoke of Chilean dignity, and Pedro Aguirre Cerda, who quoted Valentín Letelier, saying to govern is to educate, once passed through here, this place from which I am speaking to you today. So too did Eduardo Frei Montalva and his popular promotion program, Comrade Salvador Allende and his nationalization of copper, Patricio Aylwin and the recovery of democracy and Michelle Bachelet, opening unchartered paths for social protection. Here, you can also hear the echoes of those who have anonymously risen up against oppression, defending human rights, demanding truth, justice, reparations, and the guarantee of non-repetition”, he stated.
“But these walls have also witnessed horrors, and a violent and oppressive past that we haven’t forgotten and won’t forget. Here, where we are speaking today, rockets entered yesterday, and that is something that must never happen again”, President Boric stressed.
Speaking about the large amount of work to come, the President stressed several of the key areas.
At the economic level, he explained, “we also know that the economy is still suffering and that the country needs to get back on its feet, grow, and fairly distribute the fruits of this growth, because when there is no distribution of wealth, when wealth is concentrated in only a few hands, it’s hard to pay for things. We need to redistribute the wealth produced by the men and women of Chile, produced by those who inhabit our country”.
Referring to the international context, he indicated, “I want to be very clear about this: Chile, our country, will always promote respect for human rights, everywhere and regardless of the color of the government that violates them”.
“There are so many challenges: the climate emergency, migration processes, economic globalization, the energy crisis, ongoing violence against women and people who have different points of view. We have to work together with our sister nations, as we discussed today with the presidents of other countries. We must never look down on ourselves again, never look at ourselves with distrust again; let’s work together in Latin America to move forward together”, he emphasized.
Citizen government on terrain
One of the distinguishing features of this new government will be that it will constantly go out on terrain to find out about the different circumstances of the population. In this regard, the President highlighted, “I want you to know that I, as the President of Chile, and our cabinet of ministers and our teams, we won’t simply take care of problems. We will explain; we will talk to you to explain the reasons for our decisions, so that you can also be part of the solutions. And that also requires changing somewhat the relationship you have with the government authorities. Government cannot be unreachable; we want ministers on terrain, in the streets, standing with the people. We don’t want to just visit parts of the country for a couple of hours to inaugurate a work and then say goodbye. We want to listen; not hide away”.
Moving on to healthcare, President Boric stated, “we are also going to continue the previous administration’s successful vaccination strategy, always prioritizing people’s health. We will also implement a specific strategy to address the consequences of mental health, because mental health is also important to the men and women of Chile”.
Regarding education, he continued, “we are going to specifically address this area, where a giant gap has opened as a result of the obligation to close schools. We have to reopen the schools, so that our children can meet up again, while generating, of course, all the safety conditions to make this possible”.
Security was another point that he did not let pass, explaining that “we are going to confront the problem of crime by facing the social inequality that gives rise to it. We will also carry out a police reform to ensure a police presence in the places that most need it, to increase the effectiveness of investigation and to focus on the criminal and drug-trafficking organizations that are destroying our neighborhoods”.
He added, “I want to add that we need to heal the wounds left by the social unrest. Therefore, yesterday we withdrew the charges against those people who were processed under the Internal State Security Law, because we believe that, as Chileans, we have to come together once more”.
On the challenges of migration, he stated, “we’re going to take back control of our borders and work alongside our sister nations to collectively address the difficulties brought about by the exodus of thousands of human beings. Let’s please never forget that we are human beings”.
“I want to also mention that we have a problem in the south of Chile. The conflict that isn’t what used to be called “the pacification of La Araucanía” – what a crude and unfair term! Later, some people referred to it as “the Mapuche conflict”; no ladies and gentlemen, it’s not “the Mapuche conflict”. It’s the conflict between the Chilean State and a people who have the right to exist. And there, the solution is not and never will be violence”, he emphasized.
Finally, he announced that “in this first year of government, we have also set ourselves the task of enthusiastically accompanying the constitutional process that we fought so hard for. We will resolutely, decidedly support the work of the Convention”.