Joaquín Lavín

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Joaquín Lavín

Joaquín José Lavín Infante (born October 23, 1953 in Santiago de Chile ) is a Chilean politician and member of the right-wing Unión Demócrata Independiente (UDI), which was founded in the 1980s. He ran unsuccessfully for the office of President of Chile in the 1999/2000 and 2005/2006 presidential elections. In the first Piñera cabinet , he was Minister of Education from 2010 to 2011 and, after his resignation, continued to serve as Minister of Planning and until 2013 as Minister of Social Development in the government. Since 2016, like from 1992 to 1999, he has been mayor of the rich Santiago district of Las Condes .


Under Pinochet

Lavín was seen as an admirer of Augusto Pinochet during the dictatorship and was one of the founders of the right-wing Unión Demócrata Independiente party. His foster fathers included the dictator and his ideological advisor Jaime Guzmán .

Lavín was close to the Chicago Boys , who reformed the country's economy during Pinochet's reign. From 1981 to 1986 Lavín was the editor of the business section of the influential El Mercurio newspaper . He later initiated a gentle distancing from Pinochet.

Since the transition

Since 1992 he has been mayor of the wealthy district of Las Condes in the capital Santiago de Chile and was re-elected in 1997 with an overwhelming majority. In the presidential elections in December 1999 and the runoff election in January 2000, Lavín stood as a candidate for the Alianza por Chile . It was the first time since the transition that the two right-wing parties UDI and the Renovación Nacional (RN) were able to agree on a common candidate. The RN's most promising candidate, Sebastián Piñera , was unable to prevail against Lavín in an internal power struggle, but became his campaign manager. In his election manifesto, Lavín called for more work, better health care and less crime, primarily targeting the poor. He tried to convey the message that the previous politicians had had their day and that a new type of politician was required instead. This earned him criticism, as Pinochet had always spoken derogatory about the "gentlemen politicians" during the military dictatorship. In the first ballot, Lavín won 47.3 percent of the vote, just behind the government alliance candidate, Ricardo Lagos , who received 47.9 percent. In the end, Lagos won the runoff election.

Lavín in a televised debate in October 2005

Lavín ran again in the 2005/2006 presidential elections, but this time only for the UDI because the right wing alliance had broken. The RN sent their own candidate into the race with the 1999 still hapless Sebastián Piñera. Lavín campaigned to fight social inequality and to build prisons on remote islands. In the first ballot, Lavín landed only in third place with 23.2 percent of the vote and, unlike Piñera, could not qualify for the runoff election. On the evening of the election, he assured Piñera of his support for the runoff election, which, however, was won by the candidate of the government alliance , Michelle Bachelet . After Piñera, the presidential elections in Chile 2009/2010 had won, he made Lavín in his Cabinet for the Minister of Education .


However, as a result of the ongoing student protests in Chile , he had to resign in July 2011. Lavín paid lip service to the demands for free, deprivatised and better education - "egalitarian, public and free education" is enshrined in the Chilean constitution as a social right. He was also accused of benefiting from the current education system through his participation in the private Universidad de Desarrollo , which is why he was hardly interested in reforms. He was succeeded by the previous Minister of Justice, Felipe Bulnes , and Lavín moved to the head of the Planning Ministry, which in October of the same year became part of the Ministry of Social Development, which Lavín was head of until 2013.


Joaquín Lavín is married to María Estela León Ruiz, a daughter of the well-known commercial pilot and right-wing anti-Allende activist Alberto León Fuentes (* 1931), and has seven children with her.

As a supernumerary, Lavín is a member of the Catholic personal prelature Opus Dei and is one of the most famous Opus Dei members in public life in the capital.

Individual evidence

  1. a b Jens Holst: Shivering game for Lagos . In: Latin America News . No. 307 , January 2000 ( latein [accessed February 1, 2012]).
  2. Peter Simon: A President you can touch? In: Latin America News . No. 378 , December 2005 ( latein [accessed August 4, 2015]).
  3. Protest against the most expensive education system in the world. The struggle of the Chilean students against the neoliberal development model inherited from the dictatorship
  4. ^ David Rojas-Kienzle: Education instead of private schools . In: Latin America News . No. 445/446 , 2011 ( [accessed August 4, 2015]).
  5. ^ Nicole Jullian, Pablo Jullian: This time with emphasis . In: Latin America News . No. 447/448 , 2011 ( [accessed August 4, 2015]).
  6. Conoce los nombres and curriculum de los ministros de Piñera. In: El Morro cotudo. February 9, 2010, accessed March 26, 2019.
  7. ^ Marcelo Pollack: The New Right in Chile, 1973–1997. Palgrave Macmillan, London 1999, ISBN 0-333-72473-9 , pp. 162 f.

Web links

Commons : Joaquín Lavín  - collection of images, videos and audio files