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Pinera’s tragic Helicopter crash

Chile's former president Sebastian Pinera dies in helicopter crash. He was 74 | South China Morning Post

Former Chilean President Sebastian Pinera passed away in a helicopter crash in the southern part of the country on Tuesday, as confirmed by both the government and the ex-president’s office. This tragic event has cast the nation, which he led for two terms, into mourning and elicited condolences from leaders across Latin America.

Interior Minister Carolina Toha officially announced the demise of the 74-year-old former president, who served from 2010 to 2014 and then again from 2018 to 2022. The helicopter crash occurred in the town of Lago Ranco, with three other passengers surviving, according to Toha, who also mentioned that Pinera’s body had been recovered.

Pinera, a successful entrepreneur, presided over rapid economic growth and a significant reduction in unemployment during his initial presidency from 2010 to 2014, a period when many of Chile’s trade partners and neighboring countries were experiencing slower growth rates. His second term from 2018 to 2022 was marked by intense protests against inequality, leading to accusations of human rights violations and culminating in the commitment to draft a new constitution.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Pinera led the country’s response, achieving one of the world’s fastest vaccination rates. Notably, his first term included the celebrated rescue of 33 miners trapped in the Atacama Desert in 2010, a global media sensation later depicted in the 2014 movie “The 33.”

Sebastian Pinera, the son of a prominent centrist politician, amassed his wealth through ventures like introducing credit cards to Chile in the 1980s. As of 2024, he ranked 1,176 on Forbes’ global rich list, with a net worth of $2.7 billion. Recognized for his driven and competitive personality, Pinera, who could be perceived as a bit of a bully and hesitant to delegate, was also known for his risk-taking endeavors, such as piloting his own helicopter and engaging in deep-sea diving.

A Harvard-trained economist, Pinera entered politics after a successful business career, presenting himself as the leader of a new right and an entrepreneur who achieved success through hard work. He distanced himself from the controversial rule of General Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990, a period marked by significant human rights abuses.

Despite initially losing the presidency in 2005, Pinera secured victory in 2009, ending the 20-year rule of the center-left. However, his tenure faced criticism for not adequately addressing deep-seated inequality and educational shortcomings, despite commendations for economic achievements.

Sebastian Pinera was married to Cecilia Morel, and they had four children.

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