The presidents of Argentina and Chile, Alberto Fernández and Sebastián Piñera, pledged this Tuesday in Santiago to face together the challenges of the pandemic. The two leaders try to create a common front in the face of adversity after having starred in loud disagreements in recent months, among other things, due to the different way in which each one stood up to the health crisis.
Both now promise to turn the page and make amends for their mistakes.
“This visit reflects the will and commitment of both governments and both countries to continue strengthening ties of friendship and collaboration”, said the Chilean president.
Fernández: “If we had been closer together, we could have coped better”
“Because the pandemic has subjected us to what it has subjected us, to each one, in his own way, facing the unknown. And sometimes I think that if we had been closer together, more united, surely we could have coped better Alberto Fernández affirmed. Now Perhaps it is the opportunity that comes, to take advantage of the experience that the pandemic leaves us to understand the importance of development in unity among Argentines, Chileans and also among Latin Americans “.
Healthcare collaboration agreement and to build an optical cable between America and Asia-Pacific
Fernández and Piñera, of different ideologies, have cemented their desire to strengthen ties with the signing of an agreement to improve health collaboration, among other issues.
They have also committed to working together for the construction of a submarine optical cable that will link South America with Australia, New Zealand and the Asia Pacific region.
Chile, with about 18,000 deaths, and Argentina, with more than 47,000, are two of the countries in the region most affected by the pandemic and now both face a second wave of infections.
Despite expressions of mutual friendship, the visit of the Argentine president has not sat very well in the neighboring country. The hashtag # OutFernándezdeChile was for hours one of the most popular on Twitter.
Roces between Piñera and Fernández
The disagreements have clouded the relationship between Piñera and Fernández in recent months, as a result of the Argentine president’s repeated criticisms of Chile’s model of “dynamic and flexible” quarantines, in which different cities or neighborhoods are confined or released depending on of the evolution of the number of infections per square kilometer.
Argentina, for its part, opted from the beginning for a harsh and long confinement throughout the territory.
Tension reappeared between the two leaders when, in a videoconference last April with members of the progressive Puebla Group, Fernández called for unity with the Chilean opposition to “regain power”, prompting complaints from the Chilean government.