Chile's outgoing and incoming Presidents Sebastián Piñera and Gabriel Boric Thursday had a large series of engagements with foreign dignitaries who are in the country to attend Friday's inauguration.
President-elect Boric held over 15 bilateral meetings at Santiago's City Hall, while Piñera hosted his guests at La Moneda on his last day in office.
Personalities already in Chile are the Dominican Republic President Luis Abinader; Mexico's First Lady Beatriz Gutiérrez; Brazil's vice-president Brazil, Hamilton Mourao, Curaçao Prime Minister Gilmar Pisas; Ireland's Deputy Prime Minister Leo Varadkar and Japan's Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi.
Among those to arrive later were the Prime Minister of Haiti, as well as King Felipe VI of Spain, in addition to Presidents Alberto Fernández of Argentina and Luis Lacalle Pou of Uruguay.
Piñera reached the last day of his second term with approval ratings below those of former dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1990. When he took office on March 11, 2018, Chile was still an oasis of financial and social stability in the region. Four years later he leaves a country marked by social unrest and a pandemic, a country which is also drafting a new Constitution to finally leave behind the traces of the Pinochet era, a country which effective Friday will have a leftwing head of state, one with a mindset very near to that of Salvador Allende, who was overthrown by Pinochet's coup in 1973.
A survey published in late February showed that only 15% of Chileans rated Piñera's second term as good, below the 22% Pinochet had when the country transitioned towards democratic rule in 1990.
These figures account for Chile's transformation over the past four years. The standard-bearer of the stable and secure economy turned into a country hit by a deep revolt that for months revealed its tremendous inequalities and that only the health measures of the pandemic could contain in some way, which led to a presidential campaign marked by more extreme options than ever in the history of Chile.
At the helm of the administration which brought Chile to what it has become was a billionaire businessman oftentimes way away from the requirements, problems, and needs of ordinary citizens.
The Piñera administration will be the final milestone of a long period of at least 30 years, beginning in 1989, characterized by a strong inertia of the political institutions created by the dictatorship in the 1980s,” an analyst quoted by France24 explained.
That way of handling things boiled up to the October 2019 social crisis which allowed Boric to surge from student leader to President in little over two years.
Piñera will surely go down in history as the government that declared war on its own people, another scholar told France 24.
That man met Thursday with General Mourao and King Felipe VI, among other leaders.