Boric focuses on constitutional referendum loss in UN address

Chilean President Gabriel Boric’s address to the UN General Assembly on Tuesday was centered on the country’s constitutional reform process, describing the fight against inequality as a global phenomenon but also showing “humility” in the face of his latest electoral defeat.

“The results were the expression of citizens who are demanding change without risking what they have in the present. They want a better future built seriously and without adding new uncertainties to the mix. We have understood that representing discontents is easier than providing solutions for them,” Mr. Boric said.

The president was at pains to distance himself from critics that called his government a “new political elite” in the aftermath of the landslide rejection of its constitutional reform proposal, saying politicians “have to take advantage of the wisdom of our societies and not try to substitute them.”

Mr. Boric is facing a tough situation at home after the referendum. Yesterday, he was booed during the country’s yearly military parade, although he played down the incident, saying he also took part in political protests during his youth. Government spokeswoman Camila Vallejo was more plain-spoken, calling the protestors a “small far-right group” that “disrespected the military parade.” 

With regards to global matters, Mr. Boric reiterated his strong position against Russia’s “war of aggression” in Ukraine, expressing “our solidarity and respect” for the Ukrainian people.

Mr. Boric vowed a multilateral approach to achieve “justice and peace” in matters ranging from women’s rights in Iran to the Israel-Palestine conflict. 

The “political crisis” in Venezuela was mentioned as contributing to instability in Latin America, given the hundreds of thousands of people migrating in droves to countries like Chile, while Daniel Ortega’s persecution of dissidents in Nicaragua was denounced amid a call for accepting the right to “hold different ideas than those of the government.”

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