Who makes up the iron circle of the president of the Republican Party?

Two people accompany the standard-bearer of the Republican Party, José Antonio Kast, to each of the activities he attends: his communications chief, Carolina Araya; and his closest adviser, Cristián Valenzuela.

Chilean presidential candidate Jose Antonio Kast gestures as he speaks after the partial results of the first round vote during the presidential elections, in Santiago, Chile, November 21, 2021. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

Both are part of the “iron circle” of the standard bearer who he won in the first round of this Sunday. The two were linked to his first presidential affair of 2017.

Araya (30) left in charge of communications for his wife, Pía Adriasola. After that campaign was over, Kast asked her to be his press officer and, in January of this year, she took over as head of communications for the flag-bearer and the Republican Party.

She is a journalist from the Universidad del Desarrollo, and she is the one who manages Kast’s agenda, advises on interviews and strategic decisions of the campaign.

Kast, in fact, depending on his surroundings, always jokes that his team is small, but efficient.

In the case of Valenzuela (40), who is a lawyer from the Catholic University, during 2007 he began to work as a legislative advisor at the Jaime Guzmán Foundation. In that instance, he and Kast began to forge a bond of trust because they led several offensives together, for example, the constitutional indictment against the now ex-flagged DC Yasna Provoste.

Later, Valenzuela did a graduate degree in the United States and returned in 2017 for Kast’s presidential campaign. In those days, Valenzuela was not very convinced that the exUDI was going to be able to gather the necessary signatures for his candidacy and, therefore, he ended up surprised. From then on, both of them worked on the design in social networks that the candidate maintains to this day and began to pave the way for the second presidential bid.

The lawyer, moreover, was a key piece in the construction of the government program, which today is a matter of question and which must be modified. In fact, he is responsible for the strategy of “accentuating” certain programmatic things with the aim that Kast was obtaining greater public visibility, which, they say, was paying off and today they have him competing in the second presidential round.

Valenzuela, in fact, was against the idea of ​​changing the program before the first round because he defended the thesis that it was necessary to maintain coherence and make adjustments thinking of “a government plan” in the face of the ballot.

Likewise, the lawyer, who also in the past served for a few years in the UDI like Kast, He has been key in several decisions, for example, when in 2017 he lost the elections and obtained almost 8% of the vote, he recommended that he go immediately to greet then-candidate Sebastián Piñera. He also advised him to agree with Chile Vamos for the election of conventional ones.

Of course, it has also given ideas that were not adopted, for example, that Kast participated in the official primaries and not that he went directly to the first round. His calculation was that Kast’s candidacy would thus have greater power.

Former deputy Arturo Squella is another of those who make up the standard-bearer’s circle of trust. The former UDI parliamentarian, who had already collaborated with Kast in his first bid to get to La Moneda, began working underground in this campaign, on issues such as coordination with the official parties of the Chile Podemos Más block. And he has also been a link with representatives of La Moneda, for example, Jaime Bellolio (Segegob), of whom he has been a friend for years.

Yesterday, on Kast’s victory day, the former UDI deputy was seen by appearing in a video broadcast by the flag-bearer’s team once he arrived at the command when the results of the elections were known.

Squella was a union parliamentarian for two periods, so he knows other legislators of different sensitivities within the center-right. Republican sources maintain that this network has been key to building bridges in the sector and will be an incident in the search for programmatic agreements.

Along the same lines, eIn the Kast command, they say that Squella will deepen his role in the campaign in the coming days and that he will probably assume officially as political coordinator. Something that, in any case, must be resolved in the next few hours or days.

He’s your campaign manager. Julio Feres, although in 2017 he did not have a role in the front line, the truth is that his relationship with Kast dates back decades. They are both friends and they met as students at the Pontifical Catholic University, Kast was in law and Feres in commercial engineering in 1985.

The two participated in the union movement of the late Senator Jaime Guzmán, then shared ranks in the UDI until 2016 when they both resigned. Feres, who was away from politics, only returned to the public sphere when called by Kast to help him in the first round elections.

Hence, he has been seen coordinating on key issues such as the presidential debate – where he accompanied him to the headquarters of TVN – or in the closed-door meetings that took place yesterday in command after the victory with Kast and his iron circle.

Two other people who have joined Kast’s ring of trust are the general secretary of the Republican Party, Antonio Barchiesi, and the former Minister of Women and current campaign spokesperson, Macarena Santelices.

The first is a lawyer from the Catholic University and one of the founders of the Republican Party. Barchiesi (30) met Kast in 2009 when he was in his second year of college. In 2017, he was contacted by Squella to collaborate in Kast’s first campaign and, later, the standard-bearer himself asked him to continue working with him and there he derived everything in the formation of the party.

Santelices was appointed by Kast as spokesperson on August 14. From then on, little by little, it has been incorporated into political decisions. Yesterday, in fact, he had a leading role in the closing of the campaign and delivered previous words, on the stage that was installed in the command located in Las Condes, to Kast’s speech.

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