President of Chile

Mar 11, 2018 | Tags: | Category: All, South America Leaders

Sebastián Pinera, President of Chile (re-elected on Mar 11, 2018)

Sebastián Pinera, President of ChileBorn December 1, 1949.

Piñera was born in Santiago to Magdalena Echenique Rozas and José Piñera Carvallo who worked for CORFO and was Chile’s ambassador to Belgium and to the United Nations. His maternal lineage is of Basque descent and his paternal lineage is of Asturian descent. He is the third child, with three brothers and two sisters: Guadalupe, José (a former Minister of Labour under Augusto Pinochet), Pablo, Miguel (a well-known Chilean performer), and Magdalena. He is married to Cecilia Morel Montes and has four children: Magdalena, Cecilia, Sebastián and Cristóbal.


One year after his birth, the Piñera Echenique family moved abroad to Belgium and later to New York City, where his father was the Chilean ambassador to the United Nations. Piñera returned to Chile in 1955 and was enrolled in the Colegio del Verbo Divino (“Divine Word High School”), from which he graduated in 1967. Piñera then matriculated at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile for his undergraduate degree in economics, from which he was graduated in 1971 with one of the highest grade point averages in the history of the university. Upon graduation, he was awarded the Raúl Iver Oxley Prize, given to the overall best student of each class.  Piñera continued on to Harvard University on a partial Fulbright Program for his postgraduate studies in economics. During his time at Harvard, Piñera and a classmate co-authored an article entitled, “The Old South’s Stake in the Inter-Regional Movement of Slaves” for the Journal of Economic History. He also worked as a teaching fellow during 1975 and 1976. After three years at Harvard, Piñera was graduated with both a master’s and a doctorate in economics. His thesis was entitled, “The Economics of Education in Developing Countries.” Piñera returned to his country in 1976.


In 1989, accompanied by Cecilia Morel, Danica Radic, and Paula Délano, Piñera created the Enterprising Women Foundation (Fundacion Mujer Emprende), originally called The House of Youth (La Casa de la Juventud). The foundation aims to assist in the development of young women of lower-income. In 1993 Piñera created the foundation Fundancion Futuro, of which he is president and whose directors are Cristián Boza D., María Teresa Chadwick P., Hugo Montes B., Cecilia Morel M., Renato Poblete S.J. and Fabio Valdés C. The head director of the foundation is Magdalena Piñera. The foundation’s mission is to help in Chile’s development of justice, freedom and democracy. The foundation was renamed to Fundacion Cultura y Sociedad following Piñera’s presidential election win. Under the Fundacion Cultura y Sociedad (formerly Fundacion Futuro) the Grupo Tantauco is created with the mission of environmentalism, and is administered by Juan Carlos Urquidi. It was created to support the proposals brought forth by Piñera, which he plans to make effective during his presidency. An additional project titled Grupo Tantauco: Derechos Humanos was proposed with the hope of beginning a reconciliation between the Chilean people who suffered human rights violations in Chile’s past history.


Piñera owns 100% of Chilevision, a terrestrial television channel broadcasting nationwide; 27% of LAN Airlines (LAN), 13% of Colo-Colo, a football (soccer) club; and holds significant stock positions in companies such as Quiñenco, Enersis, and Soquimich. Piñera has built an estimated fortune of 1 billion USD as of March 2009, according to Forbes magazine. His wealth is attributed in great part to his involvement in the introduction of credit cards to Chile in the late 1970s and his subsequent investments, mainly in LAN Airlines stock. Piñera acquired shares of the formerly state-owned company from Scandinavian Airlines in 1994, as part of a joint venture with the Cueto family. In 1982, an arrest warrant was issued against Piñera. He was accused of violating the Banking Law during his time as general manager of the Bank of Talca. Piñera spent 24 days in hiding, while his lawyers appealed the order. A writ of habeas corpus was first rejected by the Appeals Court, but then approved by the Supreme Court, acquitting Piñera. In July 2007, Piñera was fined approximately 680,000 USD by Chile’s securities regulator (SVS) for not withdrawing a purchase order after he received privileged information (an infraction similar to insider trading) of LAN Airlines stock in mid-2006. Piñera denied any wrongdoing and asserted that the whole process was part of a political attack to damage his image. He did not appeal, stating that the court process could take years and interfere with his intention to run again for president in late 2009. Later that month, he resigned from the boards of LAN and Quintec.

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Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile (elected on Dec 15, 2013)

Michelle Bachelet, President of ChileOn 15 December 2013, Bachelet won a runoff election, regaining the presidency. She is the first person to be elected to a second term as President since Arturo Alessandri’s third term ended in 1938. Bachelet previously won the 2006 presidential election in a runoff, defeating center-right candidate and former senator Sebastián Piñera with 53.5% of the vote.

Bachelet, a physician with studies in military strategy, served as Health Minister and Defense Minister under her predecessor, President Ricardo Lagos. She is a separated mother of three and describes herself as an agnostic. Aside from her native Spanish, she also speaks, with varying levels of fluency, English, German, Portuguese and French.