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Off-Shore Scandals at the Core of Chilean Presidental Debate

  • Chile's 2nd Presidential Debate, Oct 10, 2021

    Chile's 2nd Presidential Debate, Oct 10, 2021

Published 12 October 2021

"I'm profoundly ashamed, that once more the President of the Republic is involved in this type of illegal matters", said Yasna Provoste

In the second presidential debate held on Sunday, the involvement of Chile's President Sebastian Piñera in the Pandora Papers and immigration policies were the most controversial and prominent issues.


Chile: Prosecutor’s Office Opens Investigation Against Piñera 

The opposition parties will present an official motion in the Parlament to start an impeachment process. Additionally, the Prosecutor's Office announced that it would conduct an investigation on Piñera for bribery and tax crimes related to the deal to sell the Dominga mining company.

The debate was attended by six of the seven candidates and lasted over 2 hours. It was the last national debate before de presidential elections on Nov 21. The candidate for the People's Party, Franco Parisi, could not attend the event since he was out of the country.

"We will pursue all institutional avenues that allow for the impeachment of Sebastián Piñera and that is a constitutional accusation," the candidate from the Approve Dignity left-wing coalition and current frontrunner, Gabriel Boric, said during the debate.

All of the opposition candidates agreed that Piñera's actions are ethically reprehensible and recalled that this is not the first time he has been involved in shady business dealings.

"I am profoundly ashamed. Once again, the President of the Republic is involved in these types of illegal matters," the Christian Democratic Party candidate Yasna Provoste said.

"It doesn't matter who may be found guilty; we must investigate. If necessary, investigation commissions should be created. However, when we are at the end of a legislature, coming out of a health crisis, to impeach a president will only affect the small and medium businesses that are trying to overcome today's difficult situation," candidate Sebastian Sichel said in an attempt to defend the Piñera administration.

Past corruption scandals and unethical dealings became more crucial than ever after the fallout of Piñeras involvement. Boric targeted Jose Kast, a candidate for the far-right Republican Party, regarding his past accusations of offshore dealings reported on the Panama Papers in 2019. Provoste, in turn, accused Sichel of conflict of interests for his supposed lobbyist past.

On the topic of immigration, the candidates disagreed on the specific actions to deal with the current crisis in its northern border, which has seen a steep increment in the number of immigrants. While some candidates believe that a diplomatic approach is needed, others believe that the solution has to do with stricter laws and mass deportations.

"The first thing we are going to do is abandon the Piñera doctrine of going to the border and put on a show, invite people to come, and then abandon them. The explosion of Venezuelan migration took place when the President went to Cucuta to make bold statements, calling people to come over and then turns around like nothing happened," Boric said.

"All countries deport people and it seems to me that we should not be afraid to talk about this (...) I believe that our government should deport irregular migrants, as long as it is done within the due process.", said Provoste.

Kast proposed the construction of an anti-migrant trench along the northern border pass. He stated that if he became President, he would withdraw Chile from the United Nations because this multilateral institution does not have forceful actions against Nicaragua, Venezuela, and North Korea.

"The government has not done what it needs to do. It has to expel people, accelerate the process, build shelters, and fight against the Venezuelan regime, including the possibility of expelling the ambassador. This problem will not be solved with a trench.", stated Sichel.

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