Chilean President Gabriel Boric, 37, is one of Latin America’s newly elected left-of-center leaders. Yet he stands out from the rest for his courage to speak about human rights abuses in both Nicaragua and Venezuela — and for his passionate support of Ukraine. Attending the United Nations General Assembly last week, he took time to speak with The Post’s Lally Weymouth. Excerpts have been edited for style and clarity:
Lally Weymouth: You have denounced Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega and spoken out for the Nicaraguan opposition he has attacked. You also have defended the Venezuelan opposition from PresidentNicolás Maduro’s repressive regime. Do you see yourself as a new kind of Latin American left-leaning leader with your concern for human rights?
Gabriel Boric: What I say tends to annoy people from the right and from the left. In politics, as in life, I think you have to be guided by principles. There is no way I can stay strong against the military dictatorships in Latin America in the 1970s and not say anything about what is going on in Nicaragua [now]. It is inconsistent.
Politicians aren’t always consistent.
We should at least try to be. One of the main principles I believe in is respect for human rights. It doesn’t matter what government is violating human rights — if it’s the left or the right. If people are suffering, we should raise our voices — for example, in response to what is going on in Nicaragua or Ukraine.
In order to have peace, you have to identify who is responsible for the start of the war. You can dislike President [Volodymyr] Zelensky or you can dislike the history of Ukraine. But who violated a free country’s territorial integrity and international law? Russia did. So it’s crystal clear for me. We can only defend ourselves by respecting international law. As I said before, today it is Ukraine, tomorrow it could be any of us.
Yes. Sanctions tend to negatively affect people in countries more than governments. Nowadays, one of the main concerns is the well-being of the Venezuelan people. We all have to help in order for them to have free elections next year. I believe the sanctions imposed by the U.S. are not helping to bring Venezuela to a normal path. If the U.S. really wants to help, it should lift the sanctions.
Source : The Washington Post