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Jose Antonio Cast, the most conservative letter in the race for La Moneda

U.S.A.Jose Antonio Cast, the most conservative letter in the...

Chile’s presidential candidate from the Republican Party, Jose Antonio Cast (REUTERS / Ivan Alvarado)

With a stern speech against immigration, gay marriage or feminism and a complacent position with dictatorship, Jose Antonio Caste is the most conservative card in the race for La Moneda and his sharp rise in recent weeks has caused a tsunami in Chile’s right. Is.

Despite the fact that he prefers to sell himself as an “outsider”, Cast is an old acquaintance in politics: he was a deputy for 16 years, a militant in the Independent Democratic Union (UDI) for two decades, and a was an independent candidate. The last presidential election, where he barely reached 8% of the vote.

“A new cycle is about to begin in politics, where political correctness is set aside,” he said when he left the UDI, one of the right-wing parties forming the ruling coalition, in 2016.

With them, he pulled heavyweights by training and in 2019 founded the Republican Party, with which he runs in these elections, the most uncertain and parochial in Chile’s recent history.

Trump and Bolsonaro Fans

Despite his long political career, he has never gone before: With leftist Gabriel Borik, with over 20% in voting intent, most polls placed him as one of the two favorites to go to the second round on 21 November.

He started out as a residual candidate, but as the weeks went by he gained strength and rallied in support of the ruling party and former minister Sebastian Sichel, who is deflating after several mistakes in the campaign.

Several figures of the classical right have publicly shown their support, noting that Kast (55 years old) is the only one who can “straighten” a country recovering from the severe protests of 2019 – he calls protesters “violent”. says. – and a pandemic that has wreaked social and economic havoc.

He doesn’t want to be labeled extreme authority – he claims to be a “candidate of common sense” –, but on more than one occasion he has shown his admiration for American Donald Trump or Brazilian Jair Bolsonaro, although he is less quirky than them and tries to appear friendly and polite.

AFP
AFP

Some of his campaign phrases, such as “Dare to make Chile a great country”, essentially recall the “Make America great again” that brought Trump to the White House.

He is also very close to the Spanish Vox party and on Sunday he celebrated the unrest in the Argentine parliament of right-wing Javier Miley.

Pinochatist?

A lawyer, of German descent and deeply Catholic (he is the father of nine children), he tried to moderate his speech during the campaign, but his strategy was blown up last week at a press conference with foreign correspondents, which contained a statement. Strings of criticism still take their toll.

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Kast wanted to separate the Augusto Pinochet regime (1973–1990) – which he refers to as the “military government” – from the “dictatorship” of Cuba, Nicaragua and Venezuela because, in his opinion, the transition to Chile was somewhat It was time later. “democratic elections“, in which “the opponents were not locked up”.

“It makes no sense to compare what happens in the dictatorship of Cuba, where they have been under dictatorship for more than 70 years, nor with the narco-dictatorship of Venezuela, nor with the dictatorship of (Daniel) Ortega in Nicaragua. With,” she said.

Tell me whether dictatorships hand over power to democracy and do they convert to democracy and it is respected. Other countries do not do this and it has been done in Chile”, he insisted.

His complacency towards military dictatorships is nothing new. In fact, he supported the continuation of the general in the 1988 referendum and often reiterates that he would have voted for him if he were alive.

He protects his economic legacy and was also a minister of government among his many brothers.

His program too has not been without controversy. In the economic sphere, he defends liberal positions that go through regulation of markets, a reduction in state minimums, the privatization of the large mining company Codelco, and a drastic reduction in taxes.

While in the social sphere, he wants to abolish women’s ministry, establish the concept of the traditional family, fight against abortion, and build a “ditch” in the north to stop illegal migration in the purest Trump style. want to do.

He opposed constitutional changes in the historic 2020 referendum and many analysts have warned that, if he reaches the presidency, he could boycott the work of the convention in charge of drafting the new text.

JAK, as his followers call him, wanted to allay fear in his meeting with the international press: “I am a democratic man,” he said, if there was any doubt.

by Maria M. Murray (EFE)

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