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Ricardo Alberto Leiva Soto, School of Economics, University of Navarra, Spain.

Sebastián Piñera's recipe

Fri, 11 Mar 2011 11:27:20 +0000 Published in Navarra Newspaper

The President of Chile, Sebastián Piñera Echenique, arrived in Madrid on Monday on a state visit visit to strengthen his country's political and economic ties with "the mother country", a term he himself uses when referring to Spain.

Piñera does not speak only in figurative terms, as his personal ties to Spain run deep. His paternal family comes from the village of Libardón in Asturias. And his mother is related to the Echenique family of the Baztán Valley, here in Navarra. With Sebastián Piñera, there are 23 Chilean presidents with Navarre blood and five of them have their origins in the Baztán Valley. No other Spanish autonomous community has given so many presidents to Chile.

Piñera will celebrate his first year in power this week. Although Chile still has enormous challenges in areas such as the level of public Education and healthcare, the elimination of social differences ("the quality of the cradle continues to determine the quality of the grave", Piñera repeats) and the reduction of crime (with fees crime rates more similar to those in the United States than in Europe), the preliminary balance of the President's management is more positive than negative, especially from the economic point of view.

In January, the Chilean Economics grew by 6.8%, compared to the same month of the previous year. According to official forecasts, Chile's gross domestic product growth will be 6% in 2011. Thus, Chile will be the country with the highest economic expansion among the 33 nations that make up the exclusive group of developed and developing countries development of the OECD, of which Chile has been a member since January 2010.

The dynamism of the Chilean Economics is even more significant if we remember that a year ago the South American country suffered one of the five most violent earthquakes in recorded history. One in three schools and one in three hospitals collapsed. In total, the earthquake cost Chile more than 20 billion euros, 17% of its GDP.

Despite the earthquake, the Chilean Economics grew by 5.2% last year and created half a million jobs. Comparing the size of the Chilean Economics with the Spanish one, the above figure is equivalent to filling 3 million vacancies of work in Spain in a single year. More than half of the newly employed were women, which is also good news, as the incorporation of women into the labor force increases family income, which is especially positive for households with fewer resources.

If Piñera fulfills his commitment to create another million work jobs during his administration, Chile will become the first developed country in Latin America and will have overcome extreme poverty by the end of this decade.

Although he leads a center-right government, Piñera has made the fight against marginality one of his priorities, which may seem strange to those who are still tied to ideological prejudices. He explains the meaning of his social policy as follows: "The center-left talks a lot about poverty but fails to reduce it. On the other hand, the center-right talks less about poverty but is more effective in reducing it".

When he arrived in Madrid on Monday, Piñera was asked how he was managing to create employment in the midst of the global economic crisis. work He replied: "The only way to create good jobs in a sustainable way is with economic growth and with modern and flexible labor legislation that protects workers' rights but does not encourage unemployment.

Hopefully they listened to him when he visited La Moncloa the next day.