Boric: an investiture loaded with symbols for a new era in Chile



Santiago de Chile, March 11 (EFE) .- A presidential sash woven by “revolutionary” seamstresses, a breakfast with neighborhood leaders before the ceremony, a suit without a tie, a victim of police violence as a special guest and a woman at the steering wheel of the Ford Galaxie that will take you through the streets of Santiago.

Chile begins a new political era, a change both in form and substance led by the progressive Gabriel Boric, who this Friday took office as the youngest president in the country’s history -he has just turned 36- and the first who is not part of the two great center blocks that governed since the return to democracy in 1990.

“His investiture is a message of openness, diversity and inclusion. The purpose is to make strong differences with the outgoing government and insist that this is not just a change of command but of a cycle,” Mauricio Morales, from the University of Talca, told Efe.

For Claudia Heiss, from the University of Chile, “Boric is very aware of the symbolic dimension of his coming to power and has constantly been concerned with giving signs that this does not distance him from citizenship.”


Unlike the outgoing president, Sebastián Piñera, who ordered his presidential sash in Paris, Boric has opted for a small and modest workshop located in a residential neighborhood on the outskirts of Santiago, where a group of seamstresses, fed up with the precariousness of the job, they founded the Revolutionary Textile Union (Siretex) in the midst of a wave of protests in 2019.

“I think he chose us because he wants to show that he is going to work with ordinary people and, above all, with women. I could have chosen a reputable tailor,” Marta Gatica, spokeswoman for the union, told Efe.


Before the solemn and protocol ceremony in the Hall of Honor of the Senate, in the coastal city of Valparaíso, Boric decided to start the day by having breakfast with several social leaders, aware that much of his political capital is in the streets.

“I am 84 years old, I bring you a letter written by the residents of my town,” one of the attendees told the event in neighboring Viña del Mar.


Allergic to formal dress, Boric has been polishing his style as he has prevailed in the presidential race. Nothing remains of his outrageous, mohawked, shaved, and mane haircuts, and half-buttoned plaid shirts he wore when he stormed into Parliament in 2014.

Now he has integrated suits, white or blue shirts into his “look” and his hair always looks combed, but there is a formality that he refuses to include: the tie. As expected, Boric took over without her.


Among the personalities who were personally invited by the former student leader to his inauguration was Gustavo Gatica, the young man who was blinded after receiving two pellets in the face during a protest in November 2019.

“Gatica represents unrestricted respect for human rights, which is one of the important axes of this government and Boric also wants to remember that he also comes from social mobilizations and that the engine of change he leads was the social outburst,” he told Efe Isabel Castillo, from the Catholic University and the Network of Political Scientists.

He also invited a large group of representatives of the different indigenous peoples, to whom he made a relevant and unprecedented wink during the ceremony: “Before the people and peoples of Chile, yes, I promise.”


In another unprecedented gesture, Boric decided that Carabineros NCO Lorena Cid will drive the Ford Galaxie 500 XL through the streets of Santiago on Friday afternoon, with which she will arrive in La Moneda to give her first speech as president.

“In this new era, women occupy new spaces that they had not occupied, not because they did not want to, but because they were not allowed to,” Castillo added.

Since this Friday, Boric leads the first cabinet with more women than men on the American continent (14 compared to 10) and for the first time in Chilean history appointed a woman at the head of the powerful Interior portfolio, the independent doctor Izkia Siches.

As a sign of this commitment to equality, a large part of the women in the cabinet attended the investiture dressed in lilac or purple, the color of the feminist struggle: “That is going to be part of our administration. Our daughters are not alone, our mothers, our grandmothers,” said the new government spokeswoman, Camila Vallejo.

Maria M.Mur