Farkas mania

Farkas presidential candidate

Farkas presidential candidate

Never heard of “Leonardo Farkas”? Then you certainly haven’t been in Chile over the past few months. Rarely a day goes by that he doesn’t make the news. Go ahead, google him; you’ll find 242,000 entries on Farkas for President; Saint Farkas; Farkas the savior of the Teleton, Farkas, man of the people… and most of all, what you’ll find is Chile’s latest personality of the moment.

Para español, usa la herramienta de traducción o lee el resumen de abajo…

Chile seems to go through major personality obsessions about once a year or so. Some are harmless enough, such as Bombalet, the flamboyant sportscaster, or Gonzalo Cáceres, the rather gender-ambiguous showbiz “opinologist.” Others are criminals, such as the aged German cult leader Paul Schaeffer who managed to avoid authorities for years after being accused of sexually abusing children, or pedophile businessman Claudio Spiniak, whose arrest and trial occupied headlines for months. Others are just plain silly, such as the mysteriously elusive “Chupacabra” that had rural folks scratching their heads over animal massacres a few years back.

Farkas Party MST2008

Farkas Party MST2008

Today, the King of the Headlines is Leonardo Farkas, the golden-tressed Chilean who made a name for himself in the Vegas music scene and then came back to take over the family’s mining interests. What’s the big deal? In a country where those who truly have money tend to be reserved about displays of wealth, the man is ostentation personified. He rides around town in a new Rolls Royce. Where others leave a $1 tip, he leaves $100. He offered a poll worker his diamond-studded gold watch when he went to vote. He’s in line to be Chile’s first space tourist. He has (very publicly) donated millions to charity (most recently to the Teleton, Chile’s version of the Jerry Lewis Telethon), and now he apparently has 150,000 people signing a petition asking him to run for president!

Of course his curly golden locks make him very prone to caricature, and his rising popularity among the masses calling for his presidency can make one wonder if democracy is really such a good idea… But the flip side is that all of his very public spending has shamed some of the more traditional pocketbooks into opening more widely, and a more just redistribution of wealth in a country with a pronounced difference between the very wealthy and the very poor is ample can’t be such a bad thing… can it?

What do YOU think?


Si no han oído hablar nunca de Leonardo Farkas, significa que no han estado en Chile en los últimos meses. Se trata de un personaje muy particular que en estos momentos se está convirtiendo en unas de las personalidades más populares del país. Tras mucho tiempo haciendo un trabajo de posicionamiento de su imagen en los medios (con sus peculiares rizos dorados, que lo hacen muy caricaturesco), ahora está consiguiendo 150.000 firmas para presentarse como candidato a la Presidencia de la República. Tiene muchos fans que se lo piden en la calle, que lo consideran como el ídolo salvador de la triste realidad política chilena. Yél no es un político, es un empresario enigmático que se pasea con su Rolls Royce por las calles de Santiago, regalando plata a la gente, ganándose la popularidad en base a sus actos de solidaridad (donó recientemente mil millones de pesos a la Teletón, la versión chilena de Jerry Lewis Telethon: http://www.mda.org/telethon/history.html). En las elecciones municipales pasadas le ofreció a uno de los vocales de mesa cambiarle el reloj por el suyo, de oro y diamantes. El caballero vocal de mesa no llevaba reloj. Pero estas anécdotas las hace siempre frente a las cámaras y sabe manejar bien su presencia en los medios.

¿Qué les parece el personaje?

farkas-pinera-clinic-200w farkas-farkazo-insulza-clinic-200w

5 responses to “Farkas mania

  1. You know what? I really like Leonardo and love what he is doing but for President? He would have to go to school in order to improve his Spanish and the way he expresses himself. Like I said, I really like him but he gets upset quite fast and speak before he speaks and when he does that, he makes a fool of himself and he is to much of a nice guy not tell him what we see from outside of Chile. Farkas, keep up the awesome work you are doing but right now, no for president.

  2. I have some pretty mixed feelings about the guy. He’s certainly done some very good things, but I can’t help but wonder about his motivations… the fact that he makes everything so public kind of rubs me the wrong way, but, as I said in the post… if that’s what it takes to get the ball rolling and get more people involved in lending a helping hand, then good for him!
    But I agree with you- it’s one thing to be rich and generous, it’s another thing all together to be prepared to be president!

  3. Exactly!!!! like you say, if that’s what it takes to get the ball rolling and get more people involved in lending a helping hand, then good for him! I wonder if he reads this?

  4. Hmmm- well if he does, I hope he’ll leave a comment!

  5. Having a whealthy wife is easy to be generous for political reasons. It’s just investement in publicity.

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