Sebastián Piñera, Chile’s two-time ex-president, has passed away at 74 years old after a helicopter accident.
Preliminary reports state that Piñera was operating a helicopter over Lago Ranco, a lake in southern Chile where he owned a residence. However, no additional details about the incident were provided at the time.
Carolina Tohá, the interior minister of Chile, expressed her condolences to the family of former president Sebastián Piñera and all those who were close to him. She also extended her sympathies to the people of Chile, as Piñera had served as the country’s democratic president twice. At a press conference on Tuesday afternoon, Tohá confirmed the news of Piñera’s passing.
Piñera’s remains have been found. The trio of passengers successfully swam to land.
The statement released by President Piñera’s office expressed gratitude for the overwhelming display of love and worry from the public.
Tohá stated that Piñera will receive “the full extent of honors and recognition as a republican leader that he deserves.”
A state funeral will be granted to him and the nation has announced a period of national mourning. On Thursday, a wake will take place at the previous congress building in the capital of Chile, Santiago.
The individual, who holds degrees from Harvard and is a billionaire in the business world, was elected twice as a president with centre-right views, first in 2010 to 2014, and again in 2018 to 2022.
After successfully introducing credit card technology to Chile during the 1980s, he gained significant ownership in an airline, a television station, and one of the largest football teams in the country.
As a member of the senate, Piñera opposed the extension of Gen Augusto Pinochet’s oppressive dictatorship in the significant 1988 vote, which ultimately ousted the dictator from his position. He also established himself as a prominent figure in the effort to restructure the conservative side of Chilean politics.
In 1990, after democracy was reinstated, Piñera was chosen to represent a district in Santiago in the Chilean senate. He held this position until 1998.
In 2005, he made an unsuccessful bid for the presidency and was defeated by Michelle Bachelet, Chile’s first female president from the centre-left. However, in 2009, he narrowly secured the presidency.
Piñera began two terms characterized by increases in the economy, natural catastrophes, and social turmoil.
In his initial term (2010-2014), he developed a image as a proactive manager with a drive to succeed.
He successfully ran as a candidate who could revitalize Chile’s conservative party, which was associated with Pinochet’s regime. Under his leadership, the country experienced fast economic growth and a significant decrease in unemployment.
He gained recognition for his actions following the 2010 earthquake that resulted in the deaths of 525 individuals. He also received attention from the international media for successfully rescuing 33 miners who were trapped in the Atacama desert during the same year.
But, Piñera’s second term as president, which lasted from 2018 to 2022, was characterized by significant demonstrations in October 2019 protesting against social inequality. These protests resulted in accusations of human rights abuses due to harsh suppression of protestors.
In November of that same year, the government reluctantly made a commitment to create a new constitution in order to calm the ongoing turmoil.
In the beginning of 2020, when the coronavirus pandemic began, his administration enforced strict limitations on mobility and then made an early decision to rely on Chinese SinoVac vaccines in order to obtain a sufficient amount.
Chile was recognized for its successful implementation of the COVID-19 vaccine, placing among the top five countries in the world for vaccination rates.
Pinera was in a marriage with Cecilia Morel and they had four kids together.