Left-wing candidate Gabriel Boric has been a long-standing favorite since the presidential election primaries. His presidential program gives a firsthand look as to why by promising to build a “better” Chile. The Apruebo Dignidad candidates program also appears to embody the British leftist slogan of “for the many, not the few,” with the involvement of thousands of citizens.
With Chilean presidential elections just round the corner, it is worth taking a look at left-wing Approve Dignity (Apruebo Dignidad) representative Gabriel Boric whose program talks of a new and “better” Chile.
Similar to the United Kingdom’s Jeremy Corbyn, Boric calls for a very diverse and inclusive Chile reflected in the policies proposed in his program. Corbyn’s 2019 prime ministerial campaign slogan “for the many, not the few” appears as a running source of inspiration in Boric’s program. With this in mind, Boric seems to leave no stone unturned with policies ranging from immigration, education, climate change, to LGBTQ+ rights.
The left-wing candidate also included the results of the participation of some 33,728 people within his program. The participatory process saw the organization of “603 Citizens Committees” which all included online interactions via social media and citizen consultations. A total of 13,250 proposals were raised during the participatory process.
In contrast to his British counterpart, the Approve Dignity candidate has been able to take full advantage of his own youth in comparison to other candidates. This has also helped the presidential contender win over the support of many young Chileans so far according to the polls.
Read more about the program of José Antonio Kast here:
Boric is no stranger to leadership having led protests at the university of Chile in 2009 against the dean. Born to Spanish and Croatian parents, the university is also where he started showing early signs of being politically on the left as he took part in the student movement Izquierda Autónoma (Autonomous Left).
Appearing to have a less scandalous campaign than other candidates, Boric’s campaign has suddenly come to a halt due to a coronavirus diagnosis. Sebastián Sichel, José Antonio Kast, and Yasna Provoste have each suffered in the polls due to revelations prior or during their campaigns. Sichel’s close ties with the Chilean elite, Kast’s Nazi heritage, and Provoste’s political party have all been sore points for their respective campaigns.
As the climate crisis becomes more of a global focus, Boric promises to “prioritize investment” in infrastructure that will allow Chile “to adapt [its] rural and urban systems in relation to climate change.”
Chile is already taking many steps ahead of its Latin American neighbors, becoming the first in the continent to have an airport receiving and supplying hydrogen powered aircrafts that will help reduce Chile’s carbon output. The program strives to continue on with these developments and turn Chile into a leading example for the Americas. “We will place special emphasis on activating the demand for technologies in adaptation to the climate crisis, in water resources management, in moving towards a sustainable economy, in the digital transformation of the State and SMEs, in priority areas of the territories, and in areas of high growth potential. Development Banking will play a key role in this.”
The Dominga Minera project in the Valparaíso region has always been a point of contention along with the many other coastal communities being affected due to development and industrial projects. As a result, Boric would like to create a National Network of Marine Protected Areas of Chile that puts “the sustainability of life, the care of people, and 67 communities” at the center of the climate change adaptation strategy.
Read the entire program here:Plan de gobierno AD 2022-2026
Since the 2019 social uprising, Chile’s human rights record has once again come under the scrutiny of international organizations. With many human rights violations still being investigated as crimes committed by the Carabineros (Chile’s national police), it is of utmost importance that the candidates touch on the matter. The writing of the new constitution also brings human rights to the forefront of the conversation.
In relation to the new constitution and the human rights violations committed during the social uprising, Boric aims to reform the Carabineros. “The atrocities show a great threat to public security and the excessive levels of autonomy that both police forces have in Chile. Progressing towards a more democratic police force that requires structural changes in the sector. In these new policies we will reinforce the subordination of civil power, [enforce] a legal regulation on the use of force and bring traversal training on human rights laws.”
Where his Republican opponent lacks in the field of women’s rights and would like to close the Ministry of Women, Boric provides a contrast with wanting to strengthen the latter as well as providing jobs for 500,000 women to help repair the damage caused by the current administration. Referring to the Belém do Pará convention, the former student leader would also like to change the definition of violence to go beyond “intrafamilial” with the application of a comprehensive Gender-Based Violence Law.
Additionally, on the matter of LGBTQ+ rights, the presidential hopeful has been inspired by socially progressive nations such as New Zealand where those as young as 16-years-old may legally change their name and identity. Modifications to gender identity laws will be made under Boric’s proposed program so that 14 will be the minimum age at which any changes regarding name or gender will be legally-recognized.
Overal,l Boric promises to re-examine all treaties signed by Chile and ratify those that seem to obstruct international sovereignty.
Boric hopes to generate a universal health system financed through a universal health fund (FUS). Chile already ranks highly among 190 nations in healthcare and five places ahead of the United States according to the World Health Organization (WHO).
The move would see Chile’s healthcare system move to a more Swedish model with the merger of both private and public healthcare systems. Currently, Chile’s public healthcare system is comparable to the National Health Service (NHS), insurrected by the U.K.’s left-wing Labour Party and funded through general taxation. A possible Boric administration would see the FUS being financed through income tax via the National Health Fund (FONASA) with a complete removal of the Health Insurance Institution (ISAPRE).
Also included in the health sector of his program, Boric would present to La Moneda an integral mental health law which would see the set-up of “at least 15 new Regional Centers for Mental Health as well as residential homes for those with dementia.”
In recent months, immigration in Chile has reached a critical point with anti-immigration demonstrations taking place in the northern region of the nation. Areas such as Iquique and Colchane are some of most affected, where those arriving in Chile at the border have faced mass deportations or have been subject to violent attacks. These actions have been a key point of concern for international organizations such as Amnesty International and the United Nations.
Borics immigration policies are inspired by the Marrakech Migration Treaty, focusing on the security of migration and the rights of migrants and refugees. On immigration, Boric proposes the implementation of humanitarian residences for people, particularly families affected by socio-political emergencies such as climate change, immigration, and other catastrophes.
Unfortunately, with an ever-evolving pandemic Boric’s efforts to gain more support for the first round of the presidential elections have been thwarted with a positive diagnosis. The leftist favorite undertook a precautionary quarantine period, citing fever as a symptom he was experiencing. This has left the youngest candidate unable to maintain his lead in the polls and has widened the popularity gap between himself and now pollster frontrunner Kast.
However, Boric’s campaign is still running strong, as pollster Cadem shows opponent Kast leading the way in the first round but not so much in the second.
Emmanuela is an International Relations and Modern Languages student from the Univeristy of East Anglia. Human Rights is of key interest to her as are culture, politics and sports.