Constitutional Apocalypse for Chile’s Elite

Photo: Ruber Osoria

By Andres Kogan Valderrama

HAVANA TIMES – The slander and rejection campaign against the articles approved by the Chilean Constitutional Convention during its plenary session, is not only growing every day, but it is also establishing a very dangerous discourse, just a few months away from the popular referendum.

The idea that the new Constitution being drafted isn’t very different from the 1980 Constitution – as it will be just as exclusive, sectarian, and written by a small group of extremists – has the sole intention of delegitimizing the most democratic process that has ever existed in Chile’s history.

Coming from organizations such as the Center of Public Studies (CEP), El Mercurio, CADEM, La Tercera, Radio Bio Bio, Amarillos por Chile, Pauta, Ex-Ante, and figures such as Carlos Peña, Aldo Mascareño, Mario Waissbluth, Tomás Mosciatti, Leonidas Montes, Cristian Bofill, Pablo Ortuzar,  Cristóbal Bellolio, Cristian Warnken, to name a few, are on a crusade, presenting themselves as liberal and willing to enter a dialogue, but they are deeply anti-democratic in practice, and are trying to boycott the process any way they can.

It is no coincidence that they all believe, as good spokespeople of the intellectual and media elite today and defenders of the political system over the past 30 years, in the theory of certain groups having an identity superiority complex over others to explain the current political process in Chile, as if their own ideas weren’t also coming from a certain ideological space.

In other words, they present their political discourse regarding the Convention as something universal, rational, balanced and democratic and not just from one standpoint, so they can question and degrade other views on the country, which are just as valid and are finally being considered for the first time.

It comes as no surprise then that they point out that what is being approved in the draft Constitution are just specific demands and some people’s individual agendas. Thereby establishing the idea that this Constitution won’t belong to all Chileans but is rather the result of a cooptation between part of the radical, irrational, culturalist, deconstructionist, premodern, and decolonial Left, that wants to divide and destroy Chile.

They have even gone so far as saying as that articles such as Plurinationalism, Rights of Nature, the Regional State, Sexual and Reproductive Rights, Neurodiversity, (non-human) Animal Rights, the Right to Care, are nothing more than individualistic agendas, which some people want political revenge from.

As a result, this is an elite that alleges it is coming from a neutral standpoint, from common sense and what people think, which is not only dishonest in political terms, but also hides a brutal authoritarianism, as their dialogue ends up being delimited by the only discourse that comes from above, as they believe they are the owners of absolute truth.

It would be good to use their own rhetoric against them and also talk about identity, but the Chilean elite’s identity, which has historically defended the privileges of some groups over the rest (class, race, region, gender-based, sexual discrimination), creating a State for a select few, unlike most of those who form part of the Constitutional Convention.

It would perhaps be more honest of them to assume a politically explicit position and identity and stop selling us the idea that they will be the saviors of an allegedly totalitarian process, which we shouldn’t be hoping any positive results from. 

Unfortunately, that won’t happen, and they will surely continue to defame the Convention, so the draft Constitution is rejected and an unprecedented political process in Chile fails, which they seem to want to bring to an end by any means necessary. 

On top of that, given a hypothetical rejection of the Constitution in a popular referendum, they are perfectly aware that it will be unfeasible to keep the 1980 Constitution, so they are proposing the option of a third answer, where a third option is included on the ballot paper. This third option would mean that in the referendum for Chile’s new Constitution, there won’t only be the “I approve” and “I reject” options, but a third option that has yet to be announced.

Nevertheless, much to the intellectual and media elite’s regret, seeking to keep things the way they are, not even the latest report by the Venice Commission on the Constitutional Convention’s work, requested by the Chilean Senate, supported their doubts.

The exact opposite in fact with the Venice Commission holding in high esteem aspects such as legal pluralism and the Regional State in the new draft Constitution, and it didn’t recommend this third option, pointing out that “changing these rules would risk violating the principle of legal security”(1), which makes this elite’s shameless rejection campaign in the run up to the referendum crystal clear.  

1: https://www.venice.coe.int/webforms/documents/?pdf=CDL-AD(2022)004-spa

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