SANTIAGO – President Sebastián Piñera chose Rodrigo Delgado as his new Minister of Interior. This comes after his previous minister resigned pending a vote by the Senate whether to convict him based on a constitutional accusation. Delgado proves Piñera’s commitment to fixing ties with the far right UDI party.
On Wednesday, Nov. 4, President Sebastián Piñera announced Rodrigo Delgado as his new Minister of Interior. Delgado is a member of the Independent Democratic Union Party (UDI), and is currently serving his second term as mayor of Estación Central.
This switch comes after Piñera’s former Minister of Interior, Víctor Pérez, resigned on Nov. 3 after his impeachment was approved by Chile’s lower chamber of Congress. Ostensibly, Pérez resigned because he would not be allowed to serve until after the Senate voted on the accusation. “For me, it is impossible to accept that the President of the Republic will be seven or eight days without an Interior Minister,” he said.
His replacement, Delgado, will resign from his mayoral position on Nov. 4, and a replacement will be chosen by the Municipal Council from among its eight members.
A moderate member of the UDI party, Delgado represents a softer choice for Minister of Interior over Pérez, while also strengthening Piñera’s ties to the staunch right wing UDI party.
Who is Rodrigo Delgado?
Born in 1974, Delgado grew up in the city of La Ligua in the Valparaíso Region. He studied in a public school until 1986 when his family moved to Santiago and he attended the Arabic School where he was teased for his family’s humble origins. In this same School Delgado met and befriended future politician Gustavo Hasbún.
After graduating, Delgado studied psychology at Andres Bello University, graduating in 1999. The following year, Hasbún was elected mayor of Estación Central and invited Delgado to aid him in the municipality. Delgado participated in various social projects and was appointed Director of Municipal Development, to liaise with social organizations.
In 2008, Hasbún ran for Congress and Delgado ran for mayor of Estación Central, winning with 36 percent of the votes.
In a 2012 interview with La Tercera, Delgado said, “I had a long journey, first I did a very technical job and then I did a very political job without forgetting my root of psychology. In this [job] you have to find balance, you can’t be 100 percent political or 100 percent technical and I think that experience has shaped me this way.” That same year Delgado was reelected with 46 percent of the votes.
During the 2013 presidential election, Rodrigo Delgado led Evelyn Matthei’s presidential campaign alongside Karla Rubilar and Felipe Kast. It has been noted that Delgado is close to both Matthei and Jaime Bellolio, Piñera’s current spokesperson.
In 2014, Delgado led a pro-Palestine protest in front of the Israeli Embassy in Santiago along with Mayor Daniel Jadue and Representative Camila Vallejo. That same year he also participated in an international mayors’ conference in Palestine during which he and seven other municipal authorities were detained by Israeli Police and held for six hours
In 2016, Delgado was reelected Mayor of Estación Central with 48 percent of the votes. During the October protests of 2019, Delgado was one of the many mayors who led an initiative to connect with citizens to better understand their demands.
Due to the mayoral term limits set in 2020, Delgado is unable to run for a fourth term as mayor, but he has expressed a desire to be governor of the Metropolitan Region. As one of the few UDI members to support the Apruebo campaign in favor of a new Constitution, he also expressed interest in participating in the Constitutional Convention.
Diego Rivera is currently a senior in University, finishing up his audiovisual degree. You can find him on Twitter as @Piover45.