Miguel Juan Sebastian Pinera Echenique is the current President of Chile who won the Presidential election in January 2010 and took the office in March 2010. He is a well-known business person, politician, economist, former Senator, and leader of the electoral coalition named ‘Coalition for Change’.
Early Life of Sebastian Pinera
Pinera was born on December 1, 1949 to Magdalena Echenique Rozas and Jose Pinera Carvallo, who was the ambassador of Chile to Belgium and to the United Nations. Pinera’s family moved to Belgium and then to New York City before returning to Chile in 1955. He was educated in the Colegio del Verbo Divino, from where he was graduated in 1967. Pinera, then, graduated in Economics at the Pontifical Catholic University of Chile in 1971. He was felicitated with the Raúl Iver Oxley Prize for being the best student of the class upon graduation. Piñera graduated with both a Master's and a doctorate in Economics after three years at the Harvard University.
Sebastian Pinera’s Businesses and Teaching Career
Pinera took up teaching in the early years of his professional life. He was the Professor of Economics at the University of Chile, Pontifical Catholic University of Chile, and Adolfo Ibáñez University. He has also served at the Valparaiso Business School.
Pinera is the sole owner of Chilevision, a television channel with a nationwide broadcast. He has a 27% share of LAN Airlines (LAN), 13% share of the Colo-Colo football club, and has significant stocks in companies such as Quinenco, Enersis, and Soquimich. The Forbes magazine estimated Pinera to have accumulated $1 billion as of March 2009.
Political Career and Sebastian Pinera’s Presidency
Pinera was elected as the Senator for East Santiago during the 1989 elections and soon after, he joined the center-right National Renewal Party. He was also a member of the Senate Finance Committee during his term as Senator. Pinera was the President of the National Renewal Party from 2001 to 2004. In 2005, he announced his candidacy for the presidential election. He lost to Michelle Bachelet of the governing coalition in the runoff election held in January 2006.
Pinera ran for President in the 2009-2010 election, competing against Eduardo Frei Ruiz-Tagle, Marco Enríquez-Ominami, and Jorge Arrate. He became the President-elect of Chile in January 2010, with 51.61% of the votes. As per the party bylaws, he gave up his party affiliation and became an independent after being elected President. Pinera was sworn in on March 11, 2010 as the 35th President of the Republic of Chile.
Social Work by Sebastian Pinera
Pinera, along with Cecilia Morel, Danica Radic, and Paula Delano, formed the Enterprising Women Foundation, previously called ‘The House of Youth’, in 1989. This organization aims to assist the development of young women with a low income. In 1993, he founded the Fundancion Futuro, with a goal to help improve Chile’s development in the areas of justice, freedom, and democracy. The foundation was renamed as Fundacion Cultura y Sociedad following Pinera's presidential election win. A group under this foundation, named Grupo Tantauco, propagates environmentalism.