Ricardo Lagos is an outstanding figure in the history of Chile and the world and a tireless fighter for democracy. Now that he has announced his retirement from public life at the age of 86, we have nothing but words of affection and gratitude for a man who has dedicated his life to making the world a better and fairer place.
As President of Chile, he pushed for significant economic and social reforms, promoting economic growth and poverty reduction. His government was also characterized by the promotion of policies to modernize the State and strengthen democratic institutions.
But his commitment did not stop there; the same year he left the Presidency, he assumed the Presidency of Club de Madrid. He was responsible for our organization from 2006 to 2009, thus contributing to expand democratic values to all regions of the world and defending human rights.
An economist and lawyer by training, he never ceased in his efforts to make Chile a free country. He went so far as to defy with his finger and accuse the dictator Pinochet of being a liar and torturer on television with a dignity that was that of all those repressed by the dictatorship.
He was the first socialist to reach the Palacio de la Moneda after Salvador Allende. When he arrived he ordered the doors to be opened as a symbol, since they had always been open before Pinochet and he believed that Chileans should dare to look at the past. Those open doors also signified a democracy in which everyone could fit.
He will always be remembered for his strong defense of human rights and his role in strengthening Chile’s position on the international stage.
We at Club de Madrid can only thank him for his efforts to make this world a better place and wish him all the best in his retirement. We look forward to continuing to count on his advice and wisdom and are proud that he has been such a close part of our organization’s history.
We will never be able to thank Ricardo Lagos for what he has done for democracy and human rights. What we can defend is his legacy and the dignity of all human beings as Lagos did.