Gabriel Boric: The charismatic young leftist who mesmerized Chile and the world
A fellow countryman of the poet of international acclaim, Pablo Neruda, Gabriel Boric vowed to make Chile a graveyard of new liberalism
Who is Gabriel Boric – the 35-year-old young charismatic leftist leader who mesmerized Chile and became the youngest president of the Latin American country, having amassed more votes than any president in Chilean history?
The face of the new Left movement, sweeping the Southern Cone country, which was once ruled by notorious dictator Augusto Pinochet, Boric is an idealist-student leader-turned politician who did not even imagine of joining politics, until he entered the University of Chile to study law.
He is said to be deeply inspired by the famous poet Pablo Neruda who won the Nobel for literature in 1971. Neruda was born in Chile which was a Spanish colony till the 19th century.
Boric’s formation as a future leader began at the University of Chile where he became keenly aware of the inequality in the education system and led a 44-day long movement against the University administration. He later became president of the Student Union of the Law department of the University of Chile.
He was part of the Autonomous Left – a student’s body spearheading the Occupy Universities/Campuses movement across Chile. Soon, he became one of the main spokespersons of the Federation of Chilean Students.
To turn his dreams of creating an equal society governed by the principles of Socialism, Boric joined mainstream politics in 2012 with his comrades and ran for Congressman ship.
Though he could not complete his graduation, he sprung a surprise by winning the parliamentary election with a huge margin in 2012. Laden with socialist vocabulary and constructive agenda, his fiery speeches against inequality, new liberal economic policies captured the imagination of this tiny Latin American country.
His name was included in the list of 100 most influential people of Chile same year.
Since then, he never looked back.
This was the first time when Boric was taken seriously by the ruling elite. Though his radical ideas were termed as “unrealistic”, he was accepted in the political picture by the ruling elites.
In 2017, Boric again ran for parliament and won with an increased share of votes.
By winning the two consecutive elections as an independent, Boric broke the bi-nominal political system of Chile.
Since then, he was seen as an alternative in Chile to the right-wing politics supported by the centrist and new liberalists.
Like India, Chile’s political system is largely dominated by two parties. But Boric who is considered a revolutionary by his supporters won the parliamentary election as independent by a huge margin, creating history.
During his first term, Boric sat on the Commissions for Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples, Labor and Social Security. His tireless efforts for the creation of an equitable society impressed the masses.
In 2021, Boric ran for the presidency and won the primary election, receiving approximately 60% of the vote.
After his victory, the Santiago Times wrote, “Underdogs emerge triumphant from Chile’s primary elections”.
Following his primary victory, Boric announced on Twitter that he would work in order to present a united front in the election.
His huge victory in the final count surprised his opponents but has given an electrifying boost to the socialist/communist movement across the globe.
“Chile was the birthplace of neoliberalism, and it shall also be its grave!” shouted Boric from a stage the night of his primary win.
“Gabriel Boric’s election win is meaningful because it will at least stall the neo-Pinochet restoration his opponent promised, backed by the entire right-wing,” wrote Chili Today.
“He belongs to a radical generation of student leaders who are grimly determined to bury dictator Augusto Pinochet’s bitter legacy once and for all,” commented The Guardian published from London, UK.