The Chilean president’s trip to Gabriel Boric in Buenos Aires will be marked by countless atypical gestures for a state visit. A well-known reader and lover of poetry, his appearance in some of the best-known bookstores in Buenos Aires has shown the president’s interest in Argentine literature and culture.
The first act outside the protocol took place on Sunday, shortly after landing in the Argentine capital and greeting the foreign minister, Santiago Cafiero. Boric went to the Eterna Cadencia bookstore, in the Palermo neighborhood. He toured it and bought five books, including someone walks on your gravethe compilation of chronicles on cemeteries by one of the great Argentine writers, Mariana Enríquez, winner of the Herralde prize with Our part of the night. He also took two epistolary books: Dear Mr Stalin, by Susan Butler, which contains all the correspondence between the communist leader and US President Franklin D. Roosevelt; and a word from you, the historical essay by Orlando Figes based on the almost 1,500 love letters that Lev and Svetlana Mishchenko exchanged when the former was confined in one of the Soviet gulags. The list closes with The sailor who lost the grace of the seaby the Japanese Yukio Mishima and the compilation of graphic material on Peronist aesthetics in the book Peron throughby the Argentine painter Daniel Santoro.
On Sunday Boric also uploaded a video to the networks in which he is seen listening to Artaud, the Pescado Rabioso album published in 1973 that his Argentine counterpart, Alberto Fernández, gave him when he became head of state of Chile. “I have time to know if what I dream of ends in something,” Luis Alberto Spinetta begins to sing in the recording shared by the 36-year-old Chilean president, who is about to complete his first month in office.
The passion for music of both leaders was exposed in the exchange of gifts that took place the next day, at the Government House of Argentina. Fernández once again gave him an original vinyl, this time Modern Clicks (1983), by Charly Garcia. In turn, Boric reciprocated with the delivery of The Latest Compositions by Violeta Parra, the last album recorded by the Chilean composer and released in 1966. Fernández, a fan of the Argentinos Juniors club, also gave her a T-shirt from that team with the name of the Chilean player Milován Mirosevic, who has a close relationship with Universidad Catholic, Boric’s club. On the way to his office, the Argentine president guided him through the Casa Rosada and his Chilean counterpart took photographs of some details, such as the historical image of the embrace of Juan Domingo Perón and Eva Duarte on the presidential balcony.
Without a tie and with tattoos
Before the bilateral meeting, the Chilean head of state had asked to cut his hair. The hairdresser Walter de Rocchi told local media that he had been summoned at seven in the morning on Monday, but in the end he went ahead and cut his hair on Sunday afternoon. “He asked me to maintain his beard style and he let me work with complete freedom,” De Rocchi detailed. Being a president, the barber decided to wear formal clothes, with a long-sleeved shirt to prevent his tattoos from being exposed, but he was surprised to see Boric arrive. “I arrive and find myself with a very relaxed person, with a not very large group of people, he came in a jacket and without a tie. To my amazement when he takes off his jacket and rolls up his arms he was all tattooed like me, ”he added, very amazed.
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On Monday, he made a hole in the agenda again to visit another bookstore, this time the Ateneo Grand Splendid, considered one of the most beautiful in the world. From the bookstore they kept Boric’s purchases in reserve, but he did find out that he had signed the guestbook after visiting it. “For all the workers of Ateneo, it is a pleasure to be able to immerse yourself in the literature of Argentina and the world in such a pleasant place,” he wrote.
Boric’s approach to Argentine culture is also part of the official agenda. Last night he attended a concert at the Kirchner Cultural Center and this Tuesday he plans to visit the National Museum of Fine Arts to see the paintings by Ernesto Deira that arrived in Argentina this Saturday after spending 50 years in Chile.
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