SANTIAGO – During a recent televised interview, President Sebastián Piñera said that they had warnings about the metro station attacks before they happened, but that they let it happen because of a lack of police. He also criticized the amount of obstacles that he has to traverse in order to ensure public safety. Lastly, he talked about the upcoming challenges of the coronavirus and the possibility of an economic recession.
During a recent interview, President Sebastián Piñera was asked about the complex situation that the country is experiencing, and he answered by throwing his support behind the Carabineros (the Chilean national police force) and by criticizing protesters and vandals.
He was also asked about his plans in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the upcoming plebiscite, and the possibility of a new recession.
Carabineros and Public Order
When asked about the Carabineros, who have been accused by many international organizations of committing human rights abuses, Piñera reiterated his earlier claims that they were up against a powerful and organized enemy. He also expressed his full support for the institution and reaffirmed that the decisions he and General Rozas made during the events of Oct. 18 had been the correct ones.
He followed up by saying, “When we knew that they would attack the metro stations, I met with General Rozas … we didn’t have enough Carabineros to protect all the stations plus they had to protect Congress and La Moneda [the presidential palace]. It is no coincidence that the electricity never went out.”
When asked about the protesters, Piñera said that they were a powerful enemy that has never been seen in Chile before, they are organized, and that they don’t care about public safety.
He also criticized the judicial system for not being harder on the protesters that have been arrested by the Carabineros, emphasizing a case in which 44 out of 45 protesters were let go.
When asked about the tools needed to guarantee public safety, he went after Congress, criticizing the obstructionism of some of its extreme left-wing members, saying that most of the bills that he has sent to parliament have not made it through, and that, without them, people would not see significant reforms and the Carabineros would not have the tools to ensure public safety. “We need more compromises and fewer obstacles,” he said.
When asked about the coronavirus pandemic, he replied that he will announce the next measures that will be taken to contain the virus, at some point in the future.
When asked if the April plebiscite might be postponed due to the virus, he dodged the question by stating his government was determined to do anything to protect the people.
He also stated that the country has to prepare itself for falling copper prices and that his government was preparing measures for worst-case scenarios.
At the end of the interview, Piñera was asked if he would leave office if it would fix the current situation. He replied, “It is my duty to be president and protect the more vulnerable.” He added, “No one who believes in democracy would be asking for the resignation of a democratically-elected president.”
Diego Rivera is currently a senior in University, finishing up his audiovisual degree. You can find him on Twitter as @Piover45.