The trumpet sounds in front of the Palacio de La Moneda as President Gabriel Boric stands alone at the door of the Palace to pay honors to the deceased President Sebastian Piñera with a solemn expression. This moving image is sadly a rarity as the weight of democracy falls on the shoulders of imperfect and worldly leaders, who have accepted the burden of commanding the destinies of a country. The greatness with which the weight has been borne in Chile amid the signs of the times that afflict nations is astonishing.
Sebastian Piñera’s infamous statement about Chile being an oasis referred to economic progress and material well-being, reflecting the country’s oasis-like qualities. However, citizens were unable to feel the pleasant shade and vital water in the middle of the desert due to the slow decrease in inequality. Chile stands out among mediocrity, despite its problems and challenges typical of modernity, including autocratic and populist impulses.
Piñera’s oasis is vindicated today as an oasis of democratic and republican conviction. The country’s demonstration of respect and solemnity during President Piñera’s state funeral shows that it is a country that specializes in silencing noise when necessary. Chile sets an example for other corners of Latin America to apply the same republican and democratic culture.
President Boric’s moving actions at the funeral events, including his presence at the airport to welcome the remains of the deceased president, exemplify the importance of democratic and republican convictions in Chile. It is a reminder that the State is over whoever governs and it is always necessary to defend democracy.
The challenges from these events are placed upon the voters, who are responsible for putting leaders in positions of power. The Chilean voter has earned their space in the oasis and has a role to play in maintaining the democratic and republican culture of the country. Ultimately, it is about placing democracy on the shoulders of imperfect but well-intentioned and great enough men and women to understand that power is exercised but not owned by them.