Former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera died in a helicopter crash

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Former Chilean President Sebastián Piñera died in a helicopter crash, the government said Tuesday afternoon.

In a national address, Interior Minister Carolina Tohá said Piñera, 74, was killed and three others escaped.

“President Piñera ruled us and we will remember him for the way he dedicated his life to public service,” said Tohá.

It was not immediately clear what caused the accident in the Los Rios area, where rain fell on Tuesday afternoon.

In a statement, Chile’s National Disaster Prevention and Response Service said a helicopter crashed in Lago Ranco, a rural town in southern Chile. First responders recovered Piñera’s body. Tohá did not recognize the other passengers.

Boric said in a televised address that he had ordered three days of mourning.

“President Piñera contributed to major agreements for the good of the country,” Boric said. “He was a democrat from the very beginning.”

Boric cited the reconstruction Piñera led after the 2010 earthquake that killed more than 500 people, his role in saving 33 miners after the collapse of the San Jose mine and his leadership to during the coronavirus pandemic.

Piñera, a right-wing billionaire politician, served two non-consecutive presidential terms – one from 2010 to 2014, then from 2018 to 2022. His second term was marked by widespread protests about social inequality and two attempts led by opponents to dislodge it. Presidents are not allowed to serve consecutive terms in Chile.

One of these efforts included the findings of an investigation by the Washington Post and media partners led by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) that showed that a mining company partly owned by Piñera’s children was sold for $152 million to a close friend of Piñera’s. , Chilean businessman Carlos Alberto Délano. The sale was made in December 2010, almost nine months into Piñera’s first term as president.

The final payment in the deal was dependent on the government’s refusal to impose environmental safeguards on the mining area, a clause criticized by opposition politicians as a “serious” conflict of interest.

The lower house of parliament voted to impeach him, and the senate voted against him.

Piñera denied wrongdoing.

Key findings from the Pandora Papers investigation

News of Piñera’s death reverberated throughout the region, prompting condolences from former and current leaders.

“I feel the greatest pain for the death of my good friend and colleague Sebastián Piñera,” wrote Iván Duque, president of the right of Colombia from 2018 to 2022, on X. “Dear Sebastián you will always remember and protect. your legacy.”

Throughout his presidency, Piñera defended democracy and human rights in the region – especially in Venezuela, where he was a key supporter of the opposition’s efforts to oust President Nicolás Maduro. out

In 2017, Chile, under Piñera’s mandate, helped create the Lima Group, a coalition of more than a dozen Latin American countries created to find a peaceful solution to the humanitarian and political crises in Venezuela. He criticized what he described as a “dictatorship that only does harm and has no intention of leaving power,” and frequently called for international involvement in restoring democracy. Venezuelan.

After hearing news of Piñera’s death, Venezuelan opposition leader Antonio Ledezma fired praise his “strong connection to the struggle of the Venezuelan people.”

This is a developing story and will be updated.

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