The President Of Chile Asks "forgiveness" For His Mistakes And Announces His Support For Marriage Equality

Cornered first by the serious protests and then by the devastating pandemic, the president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, offered his last accountability to Congress on Tuesday, in which he asked for “forgiveness” for his mistakes and surprisingly announced his support for gay marriage.

In a speech of more than an hour and a half, Piñera has reviewed some of his achievements, but he has also criticized himself, especially in the management of the pandemic, which already leaves almost 1.4 million infected and 29,300 dead and has plunged the country in a severe economic crisis.

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“Without a doubt we have been wrong. Many people have felt anger and frustration for not always receiving the help they needed at the right time and we apologize to them,” said the president, in office since March 2018 for a period of four years.

“We accept criticism and recognize our mistakes,” added Piñera, who recalled that a total of 20,000 million dollars have been allocated in direct aid to families, “which represents more than a quarter of total public spending last year” .

Despite its successful vaccination process, Chile has experienced a second wave since March, which led to a quarantine for more than 90% of the population until May and was the end of thousands of businesses that had managed to survive 2020, when the economy fell 5.8%.

To face this new outbreak and the consequences in the saturated hospital system, Piñera has announced a fund of 2,000 million dollars and has promised to seek a “broad” agreement to increase tax collection and eliminate tax exemptions “that represent billions of dollars. dollars and that many are not justified. “

The president has also said that the vaccine is the main way out of the crisis and that inoculating oneself is “an act of solidarity” and not doing it “an act of irresponsibility.”

Piñera has also intoned the “mea culpa” regarding the long-lived and bitter conflict between the Mapuche people and landowners in the south – “We have not managed to advance as we should in dialogue and control of violence,” he said – and has acknowledged that during the 2019 protests “human rights abuses” were committed.

At the end of 2019, Chile experienced the most serious social crisis since the end of the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990), which began as a protest against the rise in the price of the subway ticket and turned into a revolt for a model fairer economic, with thirty deaths and thousands of wounded and detained.

Parliament is debating a bill to pardon the prisoners of the outbreak, which the Government is totally opposed to and which it also referred to in its last public account.

“In Chile there are no political prisoners, no one is imprisoned for what they think,” recalled the president, who has announced the creation of a Human Rights Prosecutor’s Office to prevent future violations.

But if there is an announcement that has eclipsed the rest, it has been its support for marriage between people of the same sex, which in Chile can only join since 2015 under the legal figure of “civil union.”

“We must delve into the value of freedom, including the freedom to love and form a family with a loved one (…) I think the time has come for equal marriage in our country,” said the president, a Catholic billionaire from 71 years.

Support has fallen like a cold water jug ​​on the right-wing parties that make up the governing coalition, especially in the ranks of the ultra-conservative UDI and RN.

“When (Piñera) was on the campaign he said loud and clear that he was going to strengthen and improve the civil union for same-sex couples, but he never spoke of marriage. It is a lack of respect and a tremendous betrayal for the Christian world,” he said. said on Twitter the official and evangelical deputy Leónidas Romero.

The president has proclaimed that he will grant “emergency character” to a bill that has been discussed since 2017 in Parliament and that, if approved, would make Chile the eighth Latin American country to legalize equal marriage, after Argentina, Brazil , Colombia, Mexico, Uruguay, Ecuador and Costa Rica.

“Today, without a doubt, equal marriage is at the door of the oven. Piñera arrived late, very late, but finally he arrived,” added the powerful Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation (Movilh).

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