A man throws a stone at Gabriel Boric on his first presidential visit to northern Chile | International
The start of Gabriel Boric’s agenda on his first presidential visit outside of Santiago has been clouded this Thursday by the attempted attack of a protester. When the president was greeting a group of residents of La Serena, Coquimbo, (400 kilometers north of the capital), a 31-year-old man threw a stone at him that hit the chest of Matías Meza-Lopehandía, presidential chief of staff, who has no injuries, according to Carabineros. The police have reported that the suspect has been arrested and that an investigation will be launched to determine his alleged responsibility.
“If someone believes that they can intimidate or change the way we want to govern, they are wrong,” Boric said at a press conference after the incident. “We are going to continue talking with the people who agree, and with those who do not also, because that is the role of a government: to listen and look them in the eye”, he added.
Former President Sebastián Piñera has also rejected what happened through his social networks. “Stones are not the way and violence must always be condemned, strongly and clearly. We must recover the paths of dialogue, collaboration and agreements to build a better Chile and for all”, the businessman has published.
Since assuming the presidency, it is common for Boric to greet people waiting for him outside presidential events. This time he did the same accompanied by his retinue. Among those waiting for him in front of the Coquimbo Regional Government, a group met to protest against the Government’s rejection of a new withdrawal of pension funds, an initiative supported by a large part of the citizenry, but which has generated criticism among the experts for its negative impact on the economy.
Congress this week rejected two bills that sought to authorize the withdrawal of 10% of individual pension savings for the fourth time in the pandemic. One of the legislative proposals was presented by the Executive, but it limited the use of the money to pay certain debts. The government’s initiative came after the Finance Minister himself, Mario Marcel, advised against a new withdrawal due to the consequences on retirement and the macroeconomy.
The presidential agenda of the three-day trip to Coquimbo includes, in addition to the meeting with regional authorities, a visit to a hospital, a meeting with gastronomic entrepreneurs within the framework of the economic recovery plan that will involve a fiscal disbursement of 3,700 million dollars, and the visit to the Fray Jorge National Park, to commemorate Earth Day this Friday. A trip by the president to the so-called northern macrozone, the epicenter of the migratory crisis affecting the country, is not planned.
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the key information on current affairs in the region.