Chilean President Boric undergoes first cabinet reshuffle, social development minister resigns

Chile’s cabinet minister for social development has resigned, according to President Gabriel Boric, who made the announcement on Thursday. This is the first change in his young administration since taking office in March.

Following a report that one of her advisers spoke to a radical Mapuche indigenous leader who had called for armed struggle against the state and who was arrested on Wednesday, Social Development Minister Jeanette Vega, resigned.

The move is a setback for Boric’s centre-left government, which was elected with a high turnout. But as a crucial vote on a new constitution, he backed approaches, and Boric saw his support dwindle rapidly.

Ahead of the constitutional vote, Boric had previously said he would refrain from making Cabinet changes.

At a ceremony in northern Chile, Boric urged caution. It is worth considering the weight of the minister’s political responsibility in the light of what we have learned.

A Vega adviser spoke with Hector Llaitul, the leader of an indigenous Mapuche organization, according to a confidential police file that was leaked earlier today by online news source Ex-Ante.

Also read: Iran asks UN nuclear watchdog to drop issue of three undeclared sites

Llaitul was taken into custody on Wednesday in the country’s troubled south, where violent disputes over land ownership and the forestry sector continue between the Chilean government and indigenous groups. He is accused of stealing wood and challenging the law.

Boric said he was “worried” about the release of legal documents.

In May, the same month his adviser contacted Llaitul, Vega raised controversy by claiming that Chile had held several Mapuche as political prisoners. She later claimed there had been a misunderstanding.

(with agency contributions)

Joel C. Hicks