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Change of command in Chile: the anger of the governor of Mendoza for being left out of the presidential delegation again

The shared applause, the fraternal embrace and the gestures of camaraderie between Sebastián Piñera, the outgoing president of Chile, and the incoming president Gabriel Boric, are surprising in Argentina. The gestures of good democratic coexistence with the opponents is not an everyday thing on this side of the Andes mountain range, and Roberto Suarez from Mendoza knows it.

The governor of Mendoza was once again left out of the presidential delegation that traveled to Chile for the inauguration of the new president of the trans-Andean country. “I would have wanted to accompany him personally in this important act for his Nation and his person, however I have not been invited to be part of the official delegation of the Argentine Republic,” Suarez wrote in a letter sent this afternoon to the new president.

President Alberto Fernández brought a large delegation to participate in the transfer of command act but, as happened on his official tour to Chile in January 2021, the Mendoza governor was left aside. That time, Fernández invited all the governors whose territories border Chile, except Mendoza.

Chile’s President Gabriel Boric gestures to his supporters, after being sworn in at the Congress, in Valparaiso, Chile March 11, 2022. REUTERS/Pablo Sanhueza

The congratulatory letter that Suarez sent to Boric starts with a “fraternal greeting and best wishes on the occasion of his assumption of the position of President of the Republic of Chile.” And he reviews the historical and cultural milestones that unite Mendoza with Chile.

“Mendoza maintains a historical bond of brotherhood with the Republic of Chile,” Suarez points out. And he recalls that both nations share the main route of the bi-oceanic corridor that joins the ports of the Atlantic with the exit to the Pacific.

“I wish to express the full willingness of the Government of Mendoza to face together all the actions that allow strengthening, modernizing and speeding up vehicular fluidity, as the main exit door of Mercosur towards the Pacific, as well as all those joint initiatives that allow improving the life of our communities”, maintained the radical.

And he closed with: “Despite not having been invited to participate in the entourage, I remain available to continue deepening the bond of friendship and brotherhood between the Republic of Chile and the Province of Mendoza.” “I reiterate my best wishes for success in the management that begins today.”

Brazil's former President Dilma Rousseff, left, speaks with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez at the inauguration of Chile's new President Gabriel Boric at Congress in Valparaiso, Chile, Friday, March 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Brazil’s former President Dilma Rousseff, left, speaks with Argentine President Alberto Fernandez at the inauguration of Chile’s new President Gabriel Boric at Congress in Valparaiso, Chile, Friday, March 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Esteban Felix)

Boric took office as president of Chile in a ceremony at the Congress headquarters, in Valparaíso, this Friday at noon. The referent of the left and former student leader became at 36 years old the youngest president in trans-Andean history.

The new president was sworn in “by the peoples of Chile” and then received the presidential sash and the O’Higgins pickaxe from Piñera. Sitting in the front row, facing the central aisle, the Argentine president, Boric’s political ally, applauded.

There were no opposition leaders in the procession led by Fernández and the only invited governor was Sergio Uñac, from San Juan, a Cuyo province that competes with Mendoza to obtain national resources and improve road connectivity with Chile.

The rest of the officials who accompanied the Argentine president are the Ministers of Foreign Affairs, International Trade and Worship, Santiago Cafiero; and Security, Aníbal Fernández; the Ministers of Women, Gender and Diversity, Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta; and Health, Carla Vizzotti, and spokeswoman Gabriela Cerruti.

According to the Presidency, the General Secretaries of the Presidency, Julio Vitobello; and Strategic Affairs, Gustavo Beliz; the national deputies, Ana Carolina Gaillard; Maria Liliana Paponet; Victoria Tolosa Paz; and the national deputy, Leonardo Grosso; the president of Inadi, Victoria Donda; the presidential adviser, Dora Barrancos; and the grandmothers of Plaza de Mayo, Estela de Carlotto and Buscarita Roa”.

Boric received the command of Sebastián Piñera, who ends his second term in La Moneda (the first was from 2010 to 2014), in a Government that was marked by the social outbreak of October 2019, which triggered an agreement of all sectors politicians to begin the constitutional process that can finally put an end to Augusto Pinochet’s Magna Carta.

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