Chile protester pardons force exit of high-level personnel

A crisis unfolding after pardons were announced for convicts who participated in riots in 2019 led to the resignation of the Justice Minister and the chief presidential adviser. President Gabriel Boric admitted errors in the announcement of the pardons. The opposition is still preparing a constitutional accusation against the former Justice Minister.

Pardoning 12 protesters convicted for violence during the 2019 uprising and one former guerilla serving time – unjustly, he claims – for a bank robbery has led to the resignation of Chile’s Justice Minister and the chief presidential adviser.

Chief adviser Matías Meza-Lopehandía was blamed for administrative errors in compiling the list of beneficiaries and for the omission of two of them in the announcement.

Meza-Lopehandía, a human rights lawyer, was part of President Gabriel Boric’s electoral campaign and chief adviser for the last 10 months. He also led the cabinet.

Boric pardons for protesters cause political upheaval

Justice minister resignation

“Because there were shortcomings in the execution of my decision to grant pardons and considering, in addition, the need to strengthen the political management of the Ministry of Justice and Human Rights, I have decided to accept the resignation of Marcela Ríos Tobar,” Boric said during a press conference.

“When situations of this kind happen in politics, we must assume responsibility,” he added. 

Ríos will be replaced by Luis Cordero Vega, but she is still facing a constitutional accusation by the opposition over her role in the pardoning process.

During his presidential campaign, Boric promised to pardon some of the participants in the social uprising. 


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