February 26, 2024

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Pinera's Unauthorized Biography: A Rivalry with Brothers, a Ring at Home and a Command to Stand Alone

Pinera's Unauthorized Biography: A Rivalry with Brothers, a Ring at Home and a Command to Stand Alone
The Unauthorized Biography of Sebastian Piñera.

With more than a hundred interviews with the family, friends and enemies of former Chilean president Sebastian Pinera, who died Tuesday in a helicopter crash, journalists Bernadita del Solar and Loreto Tazza wrote an unauthorized biography of the man who twice steered his destiny. Country.

was first PineappleA story of an uprisingIt was released in 2010. Then, in 2017, came Pineapple. Unauthorized biographyThe journey of the businessman, who was president for the first time between 2010 and 2014 and for the second time between 2018 and 2022, led to that date.

The book highlights his personal journey, his character, his drive to succeed. They recalled it in the introduction to this updated edition: “Twelve years before the campaign that would carry him to the presidency, Pineapple On March 11, 2010, when he finally donned the presidential sari, he had already predicted that one day he would be able to achieve his goal. In 1998During a trip to Europe, and after a meeting at the Duke of Orleans' castle, he signed the guest book with a confident and foreboding look. “Sebastián Piñera, Future President of Chile.”

Here, they tell the story of how it all started in childhood, building a man with power and a desire for change. Competition between siblings – the one with the best average got more money for his expenses than the others – breakfast was practiced in mathematical calculations since they did the thing.

Journalists say it interestingly.

Which of you got the best average? – The father questioned his four sons, every December, at the end of the school year. The question was part of a ritual whose consequences could be known Piñera Echenique. Because those who show the best marks will get Very high payout Next year.

The daily life of the brothers was full of such scenes. Challenging each other was the way they communicated.

When there are two seats, seven men and five women, in how many different ways can a person sit without a woman on the right? – said one of them during breakfast. Others were frantically doing math. It was the start of a normal day.

People wonder about the origins of this competitive desire Sebastian Pinera, they must refer to the customs and impositions ingrained in their paternal family for generations. Sebastian grew up in an environment Standing out is a holy commandment, especially for men. A rule no one dares question.

Sebastian Piñera as President of Chile. (AP)

Already in the archbishop's stories Bernardino Pinera, the president's uncle, can trace the antecedents of this family obsession. In a chapter of his memoirs that deals with his childhood, the priest summarizes in seven words what his father expected of him: That he is excellent in his course. Simple and strict. Order of Universal Excellence. During a graduation ceremony at the school where Bernardino was then studying in France, his father José Manuel Piñera Figueroa visited him at the end of the ceremony and said:

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– What position did you get?

The boy had reasons to be proud:

“Third,” replied Bernardino cheerfully.

– Why not the first? – This is the immediate reaction of parents.

“I don't understand the question of why I should be the first,” the priest would admit decades later. Everything in his excellent religious life indicates that he incorporated the message.

But there were some exceptions among them Pineapple. The president's father was temporarily out of power. Upon entering a school in Paris in 1929 (where the family lived in France), José was judged poorly and placed at the bottom of his class. There were reasons. Despite reaching the age of twelve, he never set foot in a classroom and was educated at home by a governess. However, he managed to overcome the adverse situation and by the end of the same year he was already the first in the course.

Stand out Then it will be the keyword of the family. Therefore, it is not surprising that such a desire is passed on to the next generation. at home Piñera EcheniqueChildren are initiated early into this style of relationship with their peers. They competed for marks, for food, for allowances… for affection.. Everything was a matter of challenge and struggle, especially between brothers. In the sixties, it was customary to go every afternoon with the President Errazuris to the Plaza de Americo Vespuccio, a quiet residential area at that time, for races, archery, jumping, tumbling, whatever. However, the most exciting fight of all took place not there, but at home, and it took place on an intellectual level.

Sebastian Pinera at the UN in 2018. (Reuters)

In a family of six siblings very close in age (the first four were born within five years of each other), it was the father who encouraged the discussion. An engineer by profession and eccentric by definition, Jose Pinera Carvalho He educated his children according to the doctrine he had developed. He said that no one is intellectual by birth, but this virtue is cultivated over time study. Thus, the head of the household personally ensured that his children had the necessary encouragement to develop intellectual skills and was happy to encourage them to solve problems and memorize information. Lunch time, everyone is seated at the table, time for questions: “What is the capital of Japan?” What is the currency of France? Who is the president of Uruguay?

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Of six siblings, three—Guadaloupe (Lupe), the oldest sister; Miguel (Negro), the fifth, and Magdalena (Pichita), the youngest—did not enter the game. Lupe, because he never attracted the attention of others. Devoted to family life, she maintains a low profile to this day. Miguel also showed other interests: from a very young age he was drawn to music and, later, to bohemia. Pichitha, considering the age gap separating her from the others, does not qualify for the controversy. On the other hand, with a small age difference, the three adults, Jose (Pepe), Sebastian (Chato) and Pablo (Polo), seemed to enjoy challenging each other. Sebastian PineraSo, he developed his personality in an environment severe. “Sebastian's father connected with people on an intellectual level, which is why he brought his obsession with knowledge tests to the family table,” recalls Sergio Molina, a family friend. This was enhanced by the personality stamp of the mother: Magdalena Echenique was a woman of iron will, which undoubtedly shaped the character of the President.

Far from becoming an intellectual conversation, the discussion prioritized higher topics than mere everyday occurrences in family gatherings. “Some references to Rousseau might be given, but at Versailles the dining room was like a hall,” Fabio Valdes, a childhood friend of the president, recalled with humor. Dialogue: Interesting, but not far off.

He Constant challenge This was the tone imposed on all his brothers by his father. But just in case Sebastian There was an additional factor that aggravated the trait Competition His personality; A constant driving force in his desire to excel: obsession Defeated his brother Jose. The eldest of the boys was a year ahead of him in almost everything. He would be the first economist, the first to earn a doctorate from Harvard, and the first to undertake a presidential adventure. just behind, Sebastian He was doing the same. “From an early age he waged a silent struggle with Pep, who, with his abilities, set very high standards for him,” says a close friend.

Sebastian Piñera, a leading personality. (EFE/Alberto Valdés/File)

The strong differences between the brothers did not make coexistence easy. Pepe, very formal, and resentful of the disorder in the narrow space the brothers had to share, always found it difficult to integrate into the group. He wanted to study and needed the peace of mind he couldn't get at home. “He does not like jokes, noise, clutter, this family is very good Egg», explains one of the members. Unlike Joseph, Sebastian He combined well with disruption and improvisation and always seemed ready for any situation.

As the family home did not have individual bedrooms for each of the six children, it soon became necessary to share. Considering their age, the parents reserved the same room for the elderly Jose and Sebastian.

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It was not a happy solution.

“They fought a lot. “Slapped each other pretty well.”, his mother revealed on one occasion that, by her own admission, she had difficulty controlling Jose's strong personality. The fights became so frequent and fierce that Doña Picha—they called her Mother—was tired of the beatings between the children. Sebastian– Ordered to install A boxing ring In the garden behind the house. It was there that the boys settled their conflicts for a long time. The only requirement their mother imposed on them was that they always wear padded gloves.

The brothers got along to the severity of the conflict. A wronged family member cannot expect mercy. “You have to be careful, because whoever failed became an instant object of ridicule by others,” Pablo Piñera recalled.

Formed in childhood, it is necessary Constantly measure yourself against others Later in Sebastian's career, he reappears at various times in the world of business and politics. currency. Not a day goes by without him imposing a challenge on himself or his subordinates. His ministers had to learn to approach cabinet meetings like final exams. Given even the slightest error, criticism falls mercilessly. “Must have Hard skin “You have to work with Sebastian because he's inconsistent, incompetent, and even if you're his right-hand man, he can humiliate you in public,” says a former confidant.

Thoughtful. Photo by Sebastian Piñera. (AP)

More than money, more than power, more than the desire to taste success Adrenaline Competition is what enchants him. He Combat environment He was the ruler of his family home, inspired by his father, accepted by his mother and more or less embraced by his brothers, defining his personality. Despite this constant struggle, he has achieved great success professionally and financially, but he has also made enemies. Constantly measure yourself against others It became an unconscious way of seeking satisfaction and recognition. The irony is that it often receives rejection. “It's so competitive that in team meetings you're like, 'Enough, Sebastian! “We already know you're very smart!” A collaborator comments to explain the frustration caused by Piñera's need to demonstrate superiority over others.

He the ring He ordered the establishment of Pichita to prevent disputes among his children and achieved the laudable objective of avoiding family casualties. Over time, the boys' focus slipped beyond the confines of the home, and the frequency and intensity of fights between them decreased. But the rivalries sparked in that ring will never go away.