Chile: Controversial Campaign of a Presidential Candidate

The launch of the campaign of Laurence Golborne in representation of the Independent Democratic Union, which is for some the most right-wing party in Chilean politics, has created rejection within the county, both with his political peers and in public opinion, but particularly within the residents of Maipú, one of the biggest neighborhoods of Santiago and the community in which Golborne grew up.

Laurence Golborne

Laurence Golborne, photo courtesy of Flickr user El Canciller, used with Creative Commons license (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0).

Golborne became well-known for heading the rescue mission for the 33 miners that were trapped in the San José mine in 2010.

The reasons for his general rejection are attributed to many factors, but those that stand out the most are his lack of a political past, the little weight behind his claims and his low credibility generated by his words and his permanent smile whenever he speaks. Without a doubt, what has most provoked the population is his new video “It is possible.” In this video, Golborne boasts of being the strong man of Maipú with a humble past, who with effort and rigor can come to be a successful businessman, a government minister or even the president of the nation: [es]

The Clinic Online refers to a letter sent [es] by the lawyer Fernando Atria, published [es] in La Tercera:

“¿Es posible que un niño nacido en Maipú pueda superar todo tipo de barreras y salir adelante? Es posible” comienza.

El abogado interpreta la campaña diciendo que si otros niños de Maipú no lograron lo que hizo Golborne es porque son flojos o son tontos. [….] “Quien ha sido exitoso muestra su inhumanidad al decirles esto a sus propios compañeros de curso. Más grave aún es que Chile sea un país en el cual alguien, vanagloriándose de este modo de su inhumanidad, crea que puede llegar a ser presidente”.

“Is it possible that a child born in Maipú can overcome every type of barrier and come out ahead? It's possible,” he starts.

The lawyer interprets the campaign saying that if other children from Maipú didn't achieve what Golborne did, it is because they were lazy or foolish. […] “Those who have been successful show their inhumanity in saying that to their own classmates. More serious still is that Chile is a country in which any person, boasting about themselves in this form of inhumanity, believes that he or she can become president.”

In the opinion column on the University of Adolfo Ibáñez's website Aldo Mascareño Lara [es] tells Golborne directly, “you know the only grace that I find in your path is that you did what you had to do with the opportunities given to you,” and formulates a series of questions abour your ideas and plans.

On Twitter, the voices have also been left to lament, for example Claudio Palavecino (@PalavecinoCL) [es], who says:

@PalavecinoCL: Cómo le pica a la izquierda la biografía de #Golborne Especialmente a la izquierda caviar.

@PalavecinoCL [es]: How the biography of #Golborne itches the left. Especially the caviar left.

El Twitter user Guillermo Saavedra (@guillesaavedraj) [es] makes a comparison:

@guillesaavedraj: La situación de Carla Ochoa representa a la política de llevar candidatos sin contenidos y que solo sumen votos y no ideología #Golborne

@guillesaavedraj [es]: Carla Ochoa's situation represents the politics of carrying candidates without content and that only get votes and no ideology #Golborne

Álvaro Muñoz Ferrer (@alvmunozf) [es] explains his opinion using a colloquial tone:

@alvmunozf No soy, en lo absoluto, experto en política, pero la candidatura de #Golborne no tiene peso, es un chiste … y un chiste fome [aburrido], además.

@alvmunozf [es] I am absolutely not a political expert, but the candidacy of #Golborne has no weight. It's a joke… and a bad joke, moreover.

On his part, Vacuna709Clandestino (@vacuna709) [es] brings light to the strangeness of the tone of Golborne's campaign:

@vacuna709: Si como apoyo de campaña #Golborne usa a alguien que se hiso [sic] famosa porque le pegaba a sus niños.. de verdad lo está asesorando @aallamand

@vacuna709 [es]: If I support the campaign of #Golborne, it uses someone that became famous because he hit his children… the truth is being assessed by @aallamand

Teasingly, Luis Contreras (@lcontreras32) [es] recommends:

@lcontreras32: Nuevo video de campaña de #Golborne:  ADVERTENCIA: si le parece un discurso convincente, vaya a un psiquiatra

@lcontreras32 [es]: New campaign video from #Golborne [es]:  WARNING: if it seems like a convincing argument, go to a psychiatrist

Also in The Clinic Online, Natalia Villanueva [es] criticizes Golborne:

No votaría por Laurence Golborne porque no me siento representada ni le creo nada. Esa sonrisa pintada en la cara me enferma. Lo veo cero como futuro presidente, me daría vergüenza que seamos cuatro años más gobernados por otro payaso. Es más, el asunto de los mineros lo lanzó a la fama. Antes nadie lo conocía, quedó como un líder a seguir y más encima cercano a la gente. Un show para que él y el gobierno quedaran como los grandes héroes del “pueblo chileno.


Es posible que un niño nacido en Maipú, pueda superar todo tipo de barreras y salir adelante. Como si Maipú fuera Etiopía, que fuera lo peor nacer aquí. Somos una comuna de gente de clase media, que estudiamos y todos salimos adelante. Yo tengo 22 años y estudio veterinaria y no ando por la vida diciendo… ¡HEY!, yo nací en Maipú y soy más sacrificada que todos ustedes. Es un payaso, nada de lo que haga lo acercará a la clase media, a la gente hueona [estúpida] puede ser, pero al chileno clase media que intenta superarse y ser cada día mejor, creo que no.


De llegar a La Moneda dudo que nos represente. Él ahora tiene amigos diferentes, los empresarios, que siempre serán más entretenidos que la gente común. Tenerlos contentos a ellos será su mayor felicidad.

I would not vote for Laurence Golborne because I do not feel represented and I don't believe him. That smile painted on his face makes me sick. I do not see him as the future president, and it woud embarass me to have four more years governed by another clown. What's more, the issue of the miners brought him fame. Before anyone knew it, he was like a leader to follow and approachable to the people. It's a show for him and the government to remain the great heroes of the “Chilean village.”


It's possible that a child born in Maipú can overcome all types of barriers and come out ahead. It's as if Maipú were Ethiopia, as if the worst were born here. We are a community of middle class people that study and all come out ahead. I'm 22 years old and I study veterinary science and I don't go through life saying, “HEY!, I was born in Maipú and I am more self-sacrificing than you.” He's a clown, and nothing he does will bring him closer to the middle class. To the stupid people, maybe, but to the Chilean middle class that tries to overcome and be better each day, I don't think so.


I doubt that he would represent us from La Moneda [Chilean seat of government]. Now he has different friends, the businessmen, that will always be more fun than the average people. To make them happy will be his greatest happiness.

The Chilean election campaign is starting to heat up.

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