Argentine President Causes a Stir in Chilean Politics

SANTIAGO – Argentinian President Alberto Fernández said that Chilean opposition parties had to put aside their differences and take back control of the country during an online meeting with members of these parties. His statements, however, only deepened the parties’ divisions. The Chilean government later summoned the Argentine ambassador over the comments of Fernández.

On Friday, the Chilean opposition held a teleconference with the Grupo de Puebla, a leftist political forum. The meeting was held by the Chilean opposition with the goal of figuring out a way to confront the social crisis due to the coronavirus pandemic.

During the conference, one of its members, Argentinian President Alberto Fernández said, “Ditch your differences so that you can regain power.” This statement was met with anger by both opposition members and the Chilean government.

Chile’s current foreign minister, Teodoro Ribera, was astonished by the Argentinian president’s words and chastised him for “meddling in the internal affairs of Chile.” Ribera added that Fernández’s comments “do not contribute to advancing a bilateral agenda that has been fruitful so far.”

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Division Within The Opposition

Heraldo Muñoz, former spokesperson during the Ricardo Lagos administration and current president of the Party For Democracy (PPD), said that the conversation on how to take back power in Chile must be held within Chile and not involve outsiders.

On the other hand, Senator Guido Girardi of the same party said that it was a necessary debate for the left.

The recent arguments within the opposition seemed to deepen the divide between the more radical parties and the center-left parties, which together form the opposition in Chile.

This divide was already evident when the opposition lost the presidency of the House of Representatives to the governing party. The Broad Front Coalition did not get behind the Christian Democratic candidate Gabriel Silber, who lost by just two votes.

Many members of the opposition later said that members of the Broad Front had not complied with the agreement made between the opposition parties.

During a senate meeting, opposition members Adriana Muñoz and Juan Pablo Letelier, were overheard discussing the events on hot mics. “They don’t understand politics, nor the lesser evil,” Letelier said, referring to the Broad Front decision to abstain from voting.

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