Chile is in mourning following the tragic death of its former president, Sebastián Piñera. The unfortunate event transpired on Tuesday afternoon (6), when the helicopter that Piñera was aboard crashed in the Los Ríos region, located in the southern part of the nation. Among those present in the ill-fated aircraft included Piñera’s sister, Magdalena Piñera, as well as a businessman named Ignacio Guerrero and his son, both of whom, luckily, survived the crash.
News of Piñera’s untimely passing was confirmed by his advisor, sparking a wave of grief and commotion among the international community. Piñera’s legacy, as well as his contributions to the democratic and developmental advancement of Chile and Latin America at large, were highlighted by several politicians, heads of state, and international organizations.
Among the first international leaders to publicly express their grief was Luis Lacalle Pou, the incumbent President of Uruguay. He fondly remembered the support his country received from Piñera during the pandemic.
Luis Almagro, the secretary general of the Organization of American States (OAS), also expressed his deep sorrow over the demise of the former Chilean president. He extended his heartfelt condolences to Piñera’s family and friends and offered his support to the Chilean people during this time of profound sadness.
Former Argentine president Mauricio Macri (2015-2019), who shared a close bond with Piñera, paid a heartfelt tribute to his “dear friend” and “remarkable leader”. He fondly remembered Piñera as a dedicated servant to Chile and an advocate for freedom and democracy in Latin America.
In addition to Macri, former presidents Juan Manuel Santos of Colombia and Evo Morales also mourned Piñera’s demise. Despite ideological differences, Morales acknowledged his cooperative relationship with Piñera on several matters.
The Presidency of Argentina, currently under the leadership of libertarian Javier Milei, extended its condolences to Piñera’s family, friends, and the Chilean populace on behalf of the Argentine State. Argentine Security Minister Patricia Bullrich acknowledged Piñera as a staunch democrat, whose legacy will endure in the collective consciousness of Latin America.
Former President of Argentina Cristina Kirchner (2007-2015) also expressed her condolences, highlighting the deep respect she had for Piñera despite their ideological differences.
Spanish President Pedro Sánchez conveyed his condolences to Piñera’s family, friends, and the Chilean people, while also acknowledging the strengthened ties between Spain and Chile during Piñera’s term.
The European Union (EU) also expressed its condolences over Piñera’s tragic passing. The EU’s top representative for external relations, Josep Borrell, extended his most sincere condolences to Piñera’s family, friends, and the people and government of Chile.
Former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet (2006-2010 and 2014-2018) expressed deep regret over Piñera’s passing and extended her condolences to his family, friends, and the Chilean people.
Within Chile, the Minister of the Interior, Carolina Tohá, announced that Gabriel Boric’s government had declared official mourning in the country and that there would be a state funeral for the former president. She emphasized that Piñera, as a democratically elected president on two occasions, would receive the honors he deserved.