Former Chilean Sen. Francisco 'Fra Fra' Javier Errazuriz Dead at 81

 March 5, 2024

Former senator and businessman Francisco "Fra Fra" Javier Errazuriz passed away at the age of 81 after grappling with health complications stemming from a stroke he suffered in 2011.

Throughout his life, Errazuriz found himself embroiled in controversy and legal battles, including accusations related to illegal water extraction and human trafficking.

The details

Errazuriz's death was confirmed on Monday, marking the end of a turbulent journey that began with a brain hemorrhage in 2011. Despite enduring significant health challenges, he remained active in public life.

In 1989, Errazuriz threw his hat into the presidential ring, ultimately securing third place with 15% of the vote, trailing behind Hernán Büchi and eventual winner Patricio Aylwin.

During his eight-year tenure in parliament from 1994 to 2002, Francisco "Fra-Fra" Javier Errazuriz gained public prominence in 1989 when he entered the presidential race under the nickname "Fra-Fra."

According to records from the Library of the National Congress of Chile (BCN), Errazuriz adopted the moniker during the aftermath of the 1988 plebiscite, which saw the no option triumph. Errazuriz emerged as an independent presidential candidate during the elections held on December 14, 1989, conducted under the regime of Augusto Pinochet.

His business background

In addition to his political endeavors, Errazuriz made substantial contributions as a businessman across various sectors, including retail, mining, automotive, and fishing.

However, his accomplishments were often overshadowed by legal troubles, including accusations of human trafficking and illicit water extraction.

Errazuriz's foray into presidential politics in 1989 garnered him 15% of the vote, positioning him behind Büchi and Aylwin.

Following his presidential bid, he served as a senator representing the Maule region from 1993 to 2002. Even after the elections, Errazuriz remained actively engaged in the Central Centre Union Party and eventually ascended to the presidency of the newly formed Union Party of the Progressive Centre in May 1994.

Political controversies

However, Errazuriz's life was punctuated by trials and controversies. In 2011, he faced charges and subsequent conviction for illegal water extraction through the Cosayach mining company, which he owned.

He found himself entangled in a case of assault and kidnapping at his "La Esperanza" estate in 1998, leading to his indictment and eventual removal from office by the Court of Appeal of Rancagua.

This verdict was later upheld by the Supreme Court in January 1999.

Despite his significant legal woes, Errazuriz remained a prominent figure in both the political and business spheres. His passing marks the end of an era characterized by both accomplishments and challenges.

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