HAVANA TIMES – The new proposed constitution, recently delivered after it was approved in the Constitutional Council, will be put up to a referendum on December 17th. More than a possibility for a just and caring Chile, it is rather a nightmare for those of us who saw in this new process an opportunity to have a new Magna Carta that would leave behind the legacy of the three previous constitutions, which were written by and for an elite in the country.
Hence, if one reviews the new constitutional proposal, it is a more neoliberal text even than the current Pinochet era constitution and aimed at a small, privileged group in Chile. It uses the idea of freedom to deepen inequalities of all kinds, thus denying the possibility of building a new social pact and coexistence in a more democratic and plural country, addressing the accumulated discontent, which led to the revolt of 2019.
Consequently, the new constitutional proposal maintains an exclusive model, through the privatization of our rights, which can be seen in the commercialization of health, social security, education, water, housing, as well as an open denial of rights for workers, indigenous people, people with disabilities, women and children.
In other words, the Social and Democratic State of Rights (of the first draft which was defeated in referendum last year) was completely emptied of its content, transforming it into a decorative document, without any capacity to guarantee basic rights and recognition to certain groups that have historically been excluded and mistreated by the most well-off segments of the country.
In the case of the gender issue, it is clearly an anti-women constitutional proposal. It endangers the three-cause abortion law (danger to the woman’s life, lethal fetal unviability, and pregnancy due to rape). It puts the papito corazón law at risk (which empowers the courts to investigate the assets of debtors, to find resources for the payment of delinquent alimony) and does not recognize domestic and care work, which is a clear setback for the majority of society, which is left extremely unprotected.
As if that were not enough, this new constitutional proposal explicitly legitimizes abuse, through a framework that limits the power and faculties of the State against large companies, giving supervised release to human rights violators who are in the Punta Peuco prison and installs pro-business environmental regulations, which only deepen the concentration of wealth, extractivism, and the current socio-environmental crisis.
Finally, it is a constitutional proposal against the local governments and against the regions of Chile, since it completely defunds the poorest municipalities and perpetuates the historical centralism of the country, which only benefits a business elite that doesn’t care about the well-being of everyone.
Given what was said above, we are in the presence of a constitutional proposal, which, unlike last year’s, puts at risk basic minimums that I thought were also going to be in this new proposal. However, it turned out to be the product of an antisocial and anti-state ideology, led by the Chilean Republican Party, which transformed the constitutional discussion into a presidential dispute. It only attempts to discredit the government of Gabriel Boric, in order to position Jose Antonio Kast as a candidate for the year 2025.
On the contrary, last year’s first constitutional proposal may have had certain inaccuracies on some issues, but it was a text explicitly against abuses and a promoter of rights, where health, housing, education, social security, indigenous people, women, neurodivergent people, regions, communes, children and adolescents, non-human animals, people with disabilities and Nature itself, had a central space.
For this reason, I am obliged to call to vote against this constitutional proposal in favor of privileges, and to campaign for it to be rejected this time, thus closing in a very bad way the most democratic historical episode that we have ever had as a country, which in the end, for many reasons, could not bring a positive and hopeful result for Chile.
However, although I accept the historic defeat in the first constituent process, I cannot sit back and wait for a new social outbreak to occur in the country. Instead, I propose to continue resisting the offensive of a libertarian extreme right that is willing to do anything to impose their anti-rights agenda, as well as gathering strength to continue fighting for better times for all.
May political defeats serve to reflect and force us to come together and articulate ourselves again, since history and collective action do not end with this constitutional failure. It may have had an unexpected and paradoxical outcome, but it will never be the end of our desires and horizons for a different Chile.