Quoting Salvador Allende and with a message for Latin American leaders to work together, Gabriel Boric Font addressed the people in his first speech as head of state from the iconic balcony of the Palacio de la Moneda in Santiago, Chile. At age 36, Boric was sworn in Friday as Chile's youngest ever President during e ceremony many regarded as the beginning of a new era.
The leftwing Boric was not wearing a tie, unlike all of his predecessors. Decades ago, Allende was the first not to wear a tailcoat for his inauguration.
Where we are speaking today, yesterday missiles were coming in.And that can never again be repeated in our history, said the new president from La Moneda, where he made a brief historical review of the historical events that took place there.
The new President said that before the people and the peoples of Chile, I do promise to preserve the independence of the nation and to keep the Constitution, as stipulated by law.
The new Senate Speaker, the socialist Alvaro Elizalde, imposed the presidential sash on him while outgoing president, Sebastián Piñera, placed on him the piocha (a five-point star that signifies power) of the first Supreme Director and Father of the Nation, Bernardo O'Higgins, as a symbol of the transfer of power.
Boric had breakfast with neighbors in the city of Valparaíso to mark his closeness to the people. After the ceremony, he also got out of his convertible car to talk with the people who cheered him on his way to having lunch with foreign dignitaries.
The new head of state made his arrival at La Moneda alongside the leaders who staged the student mobilizations of 2011 and 2012, and who a decade later, challenged Piñera's administration from the Federation of the University of Chile (Fech).
Camila Vallejo will be the Presidential spokesperson minister, and Giorgio Jackson, former head of the Federation of Students of the Catholic University (Feuc), will liaise the Executive with the Legislative through the Ministry of the Presidency.
In addition, Izkia Siches, former president of the Medical Association, will be in charge of the Ministry of the Interior. All of them are 35 years old.
Boric's cabinet will consist of 14 women and 12 men.
The new Director of Protocol is the only Rapa Nui diplomat in Chile's Foreign Service: Manahi Pakarati, who has a Masters Degree in International Relations from the Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand, wore her traditional costume and feather crown, all in white, the sacred color of the indigenous people.
Boric's before the people and peoples of Chile, yes, I promise was an unprecedented nod to the native peoples, who represent 13% of the country's population.
The new President is also the first since the return to democracy in 1990 not to belong to either major party.
We are going to give the best of ourselves to rise to the challenges we have, said the president in brief statements to the media as he left the Senate in the coastal city of Valparaiso, 150 kilometers east of Santiago.
Boric's convertible car was driven by a female Carabineros officer, in another sign of feminism's weight in the new administration. The President was escorted by Interior Minister Izkia Siches, the first woman in Chilean history to occupy the powerful portfolio.
”It is a citizens' change of command, a historic day. We are in the middle of a constituent process and (this is) a government that proposes profound transformations, step by step, but profound,” the new government spokeswoman, Vallejo told EFE.
The inauguration was attended by the presidents of Peru, Ecuador, Uruguay, Uruguay, Argentina, Dominican Republic, Paraguay, and Bolivia, while the United States, in the midst of the war in Ukraine, sent its small and medium-sized business attaché.
Representing Spain was King Felipe VI, accompanied by the Deputy Prime Minister Yolanda Diaz.
In addition to the international delegations, Boric extended personal invitations to a handful of national and international personalities, including Gustavo Gatica, the young man who was blinded in the 2019 wave of protests and became quite a symbol of police violence. Also attending the ceremony was Nicaraguan writer Gioconda Belli, one of the main opponents of Daniel Ortega's regime.