Chile has reported the passing of its former President Sebastian Piñera ((2010-2014, 2018-2022). 74-year old Piñera was piloting a helicopter shortly after takeoff near Lake Ranco in the Los Rios region of southern Chile. Heavy rains were falling in the area.
The helicopter fell into the lake from where the corpse of Piñera would be recovered. Three other people traveling with him were injured but were able to get out of the helicopter in time and survived. It is said that Piñera could not unbuckle his seatbelt in time to leave the helicopter.
President Luis Abinader expressed his condolences to Chile. “Shocked and saddened by the death of my friend Sebastián Piñera. My deepest condolences to his wife Cecilia and his children Magdalena, Cecilia, Sebastián and Cristóbal. Good husband, father, president and great human being. He loved Chile, and he loved life. God rest him in his glory,” he wrote in X account.
Piñera had excellent relations in the Dominican Republic. Listin Diario reports Piñera visited the Dominican Republic on at least five occasions to foster cooperation and business, while always sharing his insights and experience as a two-term statesman in Chile.
Indeed, he spent the 2023-24 New Year in Punta Cana, together with other former Presidents, Bill Clinton of the USA and Enrique Peña Nieto of Mexico, at the invitation of the Rainieri Family and Grupo Puntacana, Diario Libre reports.
Piñera had come in October-November 2023 to participate in different events. He promoted responsible mining during a conference at the invitation of the Mining and Oil Chamber of the Dominican Republic (Camipe).
On 30 October 2023, he had given a conference to senators and deputies at the National Congress and urged for more talks to resolve the impasse with Haiti over the Masacre/Dajabon canal. He expressed his optimism the DR and Haiti would get down to talks to resolve the issues. “In the past, countries that have had problems, many people resolved these with violence. In the modern and civilized world, these are resolved with talks, agreements and international law,” he had told legislators.
The media at the time reported on his visit with President Luis Abinader at the Presidential Palace, where Piñera spoke of his optimism that the Dominican statesman would have the wisdom to resolve the bilateral crisis.
During the same visit, he participated in the 16th anniversary of the Center for Analysis of Political Policies (CAPP) at the invitation of Industry & Commerce Minister Víctor (Ito) Bisonó. He shared insights on politics and political campaigns and their impact in Latin America.
“There are enormous challenges and one of them is the poor quality of education. In education matters, the Dominican Republic is doing very poorly. It is possible to make dramatic changes and increase the quality of education because if we want to move forward in this knowledge society times, the world that is coming, that of artificial intelligence, requires much better quality in education and its tools,” he said when speaking at a conference on 2 November 2023 in the Dominican Republic.
7 February 2024