Former Chilean Pres. Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash

    Former Chilean Pres. Piñera Dies in Helicopter Crash
    Photo: Spencer Platt/Staff/Getty Images News via Getty Images

    The Facts

    • Former two-term Chilean Pres. Sebastián Piñera, who served from 2010 to 2014 and again from 2018 to 2022, died Tuesday after a helicopter he was on crashed into Lake Ranco. There have been reports that he was piloting the aircraft, but this has yet to be confirmed. Three other passengers survived.

    • During his first term, Piñera, 74, oversaw quick economic growth and a drop in unemployment, the opposite of the economic conditions seen in neighboring Latin American countries at that time.


    The Spin

    Narrative A

    There's a reason that in the middle of his second term, Piñera's approval rating sat at 6% — making him one of the most unpopular presidents in world history, even compared to Venezuela's Nicolás Maduro. Chileans from across the political spectrum condemned him for his treatment of street protesters and failure to reform dictator Augusto Pinochet's constitution. Even his staunchest supporters understood that he was a political liability rather than a source of unity.

    Narrative B

    Following Piñera's first term, which was part of Chile's post-Pinochet economic revival, the two-term president once again pushed the country upward both economically and socially. While he did use justified use of force during violent times, he proved transparent by allowing the UN to visit Chile to investigate abuse of power claims. Piñera believed in using the government to give those at the bottom as much opportunity as those at the top — a legacy for which he should be remembered.


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