Monday, April 6, 2020

LATIN AMERICA | 25-04-2018 09:55

Piñera's appointment of brother as ambassador to Argentina put on ice

Piñera was forced to put the brakes on plans to appoint his brother, Pablo, as ambassador to Argentina after the Chilean opposition requested that the appointment be reviewed by an ethics boards.

Sebastián Piñera arrives to Buenos Aires today on his first official overseas trip as Chile’s president.

Piñera’s visit comes amid controversy in Chile over the proposed appointment of his brother, Pablo, as ambassador to Argentina. 

Just hours before leaving for Buenos Aires, President Piñera was forced to postpone the appointment after the Chilean opposition requested that it be reviewed by an ethics boards.

“In respect of current norms of institutionally, I find it prudent to wait for the findings of the ethics board surrounding the aforementioned requirements, before pursuing the implementation of this appointment”, Piñera said in a press release.

Chilean opposition lawmakers lodged the request on Tuesday, declaring Pablo Piñera’s appointment as ambassador in Buenos Aires “illegal”.

“It makes an international embarrassment of our country”, Socialist party lawmaker Leonardo Soto told reporters.

“Our country participates in international forums on the fight against corruption and the frontline is the fight against nepotism, which is the seed of corruption”, he added.

Piñera downplayed the controversy saying “there is no act of nepotism here and much less a neglect of public interest, since the appointment does not reflect his quality as my brother or any other interest, rather a legitimate public interest”.

Macri had praised the appointment, telling El Mercurio de Santiago it was as “another gesture of affection” on the part of Piñera. 

Pablo Piñera is a commercial engineer with a masters in Economics. He has held a number of roles in public office including Treasury secretary, Public Works secretary, Central bank advisor, and Executive Director of Televisión Nacional de Chile.


“Today, more than ever, we want to be integrated”, Macri said of the objectives laid out by Chile and Argentina for Piñera's visit to the country.

The pair will dine together at the Olivos presidential residence this evening. On Thursday, Piñera will meet with the Binational Business Council and visit Argentina’s Congress. He will later head to Government House for a private meeting with Macri.

Piñera is also scheduled to meet Chileans living in Argentina and will take part in the Fundación Libertad’s annual dinner alongside Nobel Literature prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa.

On Friday, he will travel to Brasilia, Brazil to meet with President Michel Temer.


Chile’s trade volume with Argentina totalled US$3.9 billion dollars in 2017, 21 percent more than the previous year. Still, it represents a deficit of US1.65 billion for Chile, which Piñera hopes to remedy through investment talks.

More than 20 business leaders will join Piñera on his trip, including president of the retailer Cencosud, Horst Paulmann, and executives from Falabella, Parque Arauco, mining firm SQM, and the electricity provider Colbún.

In a political sense, Piñera is especially interested in supporting negotiations between the Pacific Alliance (Chile, Peru, Colombia and Mexico) and the Mercosur (Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay and Paraguay) trade blocs.

Both heads of states share a common vision about Unasur, a bloc of nations from which both Chile and Argentina recently stepped away.


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