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Tags: China | chile | election | boric | kast | china | us

Chile's Election Result Poised to Affect US, China

Chile's Election Result Poised to Affect US, China
View of newspapers showing the results of the Chilean presidential elections in Santiago on Nov. 22, 2021.  (ERNESTO BENAVIDES/AFP via Getty Images)

By    |   Wednesday, 08 December 2021 12:08 PM

The first round of Chile’s presidential election in late November produced an extremely polarizing result.

The Andean country has experienced chaos and deep division in recent years, including months of mass riots in 2019. This very polarization is what makes the result of the runoff election between leftist protest organizer Gabriel Boric, and right-wing congressman Jose Antonio Kast so important. The contrasting policies of Boric and Kast are sure to have a deep impact on the future of Chilean democracy. The stakes will have a ripple effect for Latin America, the United States, and its top competitors.

Their biographies and competing visions for the future of Chile could not be more different.

Boric, a young leftist who sprang out of Chile’s 2011 student protests, has policy proposals championing universal healthcare, expanded spending on social services, and overhauling Chile’s pension program, according to Reuters.

Kast, an experienced right-wing congressman, plans to strongly oppose illegal immigration, reduce the size of government, and harshly crack down on crime, if elected president in the Dec. 19 runoffs, The Guardian reported.

Additionally, Boric is running as leader of coalition of parties with socialist leanings, and one party included is the Communist Party of Chile.

On the other hand, Kast has vocally praised Augusto Pinochet, the far-right dictator who ruled Chile during the 1970s and 1980s.

Looming in the background of the polar opposite nominees for president is the aftermath of the 2019 riots over social inequality. Months of looting, arson, and severe violence in Chile’s cities from left-wing protesters, led embattled President Sebastian Pinera to announce support for the drafting of a new Constitution in 2020. The process of drafting Chile’s new Constitution remains ongoing, and the future of the document will almost certainly be affected if Boric or Kast wins the Dec. 19 runoffs.

The future of Chile’s Constitution, and future direction of the country domestically and abroad, has piqued the interest of Joseph Humire, the executive director of the center-right think tank, Center for a Secure Free Society. The Washington-based global security expert told Newsmax Chile is following similar trends as Latin America as a whole, noting: "The region is a political pendulum. We saw Latin America shift left in the first decade of the century, right in the second decade, and now swinging back to the left currently," referring to Boric’s sustained lead in the polls.

The legalization of same-sex marriage in Chile on Monday, mass anger at conservative Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro, and the recent election of socialist Xiomara Castro in Honduras, represents a broader shift to the left in Latin America.

Humire has concerns about Boric winning the Chilean elections, saying, "Boric is in the same network as the Communist Party of Chile. The 2019 protests that were hijacked by violent leftists, both in the streets and the digital space, is where Boric is finding his backing," pointing to how riots in Chilean cities caused severe damage.  

Furthermore, Humire sees the rise of Boric as a threat to Chile’s long-held position on the continent of a strong, fiscally stable, pro-American democracy.

"Chile to me is a symbol. Chile has a good track record of economic growth and free market capitalism, and as seen in 2019, leftists want to attack that," he told Newsmax.

While many on the left, both in Chile and the U.S. have warned about Kast’s support for Pinochet, the topic of possible autocracy in Chile has Humire concerned too, stating, "I think Boric could be a combination of Evo Morales and Nayib Bukele on the Left," referencing two strongman leaders that Bolivia once had, and El Salvador has currently.

Finally, Humire predicts the results of Chile’s election will affect not just Chile, but countries as far away as the U.S. and Iran, saying:

"I believe Kast will build free trade and innovation deals with the U.S., but in the event of a Boric win, the U.S needs to pay attention. In the event of a Boric win, Chile will distance itself from the U.S. and re-align their foreign policy to China, Russia, and Iran, just as we are seeing now in Peru after leftist Pedro Castillo was recently elected."

The election in Chile may not be the most prominent election Americans are paying attention to, but the results will have an impact on the United States and China, two global powers that are thousands of miles away from the agitated streets of Santiago.

© 2022 Newsmax. All rights reserved.

The first round of Chile's presidential election in late November produced an extremely polarizing result. The Andean country has experienced chaos and deep division in recent years, including...
chile, election, boric, kast, china, us
Wednesday, 08 December 2021 12:08 PM
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