WorldFrom the social outbreak to the new Constitution, Chile's...

From the social outbreak to the new Constitution, Chile’s journey turns two years

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From the streets filled with massive demonstrations at the beginning of the drafting of a new parity and participatory Constitution: this has been the journey that Chile It began two years ago, interpreted by some sectors as a democratic feat and viewed by others with some skepticism.

It was October 18, 2019 when a group of students made a call to protest against the increase in the price of the subway ticket, thus triggering a wave of protests for equality that became, over the months, the greatest social crisis in 31 years of democracy in the country.

No one imagined then that this gesture of rebellion would open a new chapter in the history of Chile, or that on the same date, October 18, but two years later, the drafting of a new Magna Carta would begin, the first to be born from a fully democratic process in the history of the country.

“AN EXAMPLE FOR THE WORLD”

The first step of the journey was a historic pact between all political forces, which sought to ease the massive marches by opening the possibility of burying the current Constitution, drawn up during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and seen by many as the origin of the great inequalities of the country.

“Since then it has been possible to follow a specific itinerary, with established dates and with a very diverse convention in social terms”, He pointed out to Efe Mauricio Morales, a political scientist at the University of Talca.

“The road traveled is a lesson that Chile can deliver to the world”, added.

The body, the first parity in the world and with 17 seats for indigenous people, is made up of a large number of independent candidates (48 of the 155 seats), whose electoral success was interpreted as the rejection of the traditional parties.

A NEW SOCIAL PACT

Lawyer and academic Fernando Atria, one of the constituent’s most recognized left-wing faces, told Efe that the drafting of a new Magna Carta aims to transform a “destitute force” (that of the marches) “into a constructive force , that serves to create a new social pact ”.

Writing a new Constitution and leaving behind the current one, of dictatorial origin, is also interpreted by “a sector of the population as the closing of the chapter of the transition to democracy that began 30 years ago,” added Atria.

Hernán Larraín, constituent of the ruling Chile Vamos pact (right), added for his part that the body “has worked with conviction to propose a text that allows starting a path of peaceful coexistence that is everyone’s home.”

“There are all the conditions for this process to start a new political cycle”, he pointed to Efe.

UNCERTAIN FUTURE

Despite the fact that it continues to be one of the institutions best valued by the population, the convention has been losing approval over the months, due to friction between the left and the right and due to several scandals that dotted a list of constituents linked to the protests .

It is a “good sign” that in just three months since its installation, the constituents have managed to approve the regulation, said Claudia Heiss, a political scientist at the University of Chile.

Nevertheless, “It will be essential that they maintain a bridge to citizenship” So what “The right and the left work together to establish rules that are valid for all”, consigned.

The body has between nine months and a year to draft the text, which must be ratified in an exit plebiscite that is expected to take place in 2022.

For Morales “The future of the country and the constituent process is uncertain, particularly on key dimensions for the economy, such as work and investment”, especially after the pandemic.

Although the recovery and employment figures in recent months are encouraging, Chile It is going through an unprecedented inflationary crisis that led the Central Bank to raise interest rates to 2.75%, partly due to economic measures during the health crisis that led to a strong injection of liquidity.

In parallel, the country is experiencing a climate of great institutional and political instability, with a president, Sebastián Piñera, who enjoys minimal support, of 20% according to the latest polls, and who has recently been mentioned in the Pandora papers, which which has caused some protests in Santiago and the start of a political trial in Parliament,

OPEN WOUNDS

Despite two years of progress in constituent matters, there are still many wounds that remain open.

One of the hottest topics is the pardon for the protesters who were arrested during the marches, which according to figures from the Public Ministry are 25.

Relatives of detainees and associations have been crying out in the streets for months and denouncing an abuse of preventive detention, while the government’s position has been blunt from the outset, pointing out that “there are no political prisoners in Chile.”

In parallel, the independent National Institute of Human Rights (INDH) pointed out that of the more than 3,000 complaints filed against State agents for crimes committed in the framework of the protests, there are only four convictions.

“Two years after the beginning of the (social) crisis, the State of Chile does not fulfill its duties. The outlook is bleak for us ”, added Sergio Micco, director of the institution.

Mery Cortez, mother of the student Romario Veloz, allegedly murdered by a military man, has spent two years touring courts, Parliament and even the constituent convention to demand “justice.”

“The government washed its hands and has done nothing. Two years have passed and there is still no one in jail. My granddaughter has neither a father nor a livelihood “, he lamented to Efe.

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