Argentina's Ambassador in Santiago, Rafael Bielsa, said right-wing candidate José Antonio Kast, who finished first in Sunday's elections was an anti-Argentine Pinochetist “that dares speak its name” and likened him to former US President Donald Trump and current Brazilian head of state Jair Bolsonaro.
But Argentina's Foreign Ministry later explained Bielsa's words reflñect his own opinions and neither those of the government of President Alberto Fernández nor of the Argentine people.
Bielsa said in a radio interview Kast stemmed from a disruptive, Pinochetist right-wing. According to Bielsa, a former Foreign Minister himself, Kast's speech is very generic and imprecise, but he is not a rightwing [politician] comparable to [President Sebastián] Piñera's, in that he is not afraid to say his name.
Kast's disruptive speech does not address human rights, or the disappearance of persons, or torture, or state responsibilities, Bielsa also pointed out. He also highlighted Kast had an alarming level of aggressiveness towards Argentina, from saying we have historically stolen territories, that we have to stop stealing territories from Chile to all kinds of xenophobic expressions targeting Argentina, which I have filed, registered, read and studied, he added. Nevertheless, everything can change, Bielsa added, although he underscored Kast's great hostility towards Peronism.
The Argentine ambassador warned that should Kast be elected in the Dec. 19 presidential runoff and if one sticks to what he has said, it would be a difficult situation to handle, because at the same time Argentina's relationship with Chile is more complex, in a good way, more diversified than all those it has with its neighbouring countries.
With just over 95% of the votes counted, it was already clear Kast and the Communist-backed candidate Gabriel Boric will clash on Dec. 19. Kast obtained 27.97% of the votes and Boric 25.70%. Regarding this outcome, Bielsa also recalled that since the return to democratic rule, no Chilean candidate who had finished second had been able to reverse that in a second round, although there is still uncertainty as to Franco Parisi's 12% and where those votes will go after endorsing a candidate who resides in the United States and never campaigned on Chilean soil.