Saturday, November 27

Chile celebrates two years of the social outbreak that modified the map of the country

Protesters in the Plaza Dignidad, in Santiago.

Protesters in the Plaza Dignidad, in Santiago.
EFE / Alberto Valdés

Chile has remembered the second anniversary of his social outbreak with mobilizations and incidents in different cities. The requests of October 18, 2018 were heard again in the public space. The authority of the metropolitan region recognized the scope of the mobilization in Santiago but regretted the “acts of violence“of minority groups, both in the center and in the periphery of the capital.

All the political actors in Chile are in a very different country than two years ago. The 2019 protest was so far-reaching that it paved the way for a Constitutional reform that promises to remove the last springs inherited from the dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. The 18-0 also ended up cornering the system of private pensions, which is heading for the fourth withdrawal of the contributions of thousands of Chileans.

No one would have imagined that the demonstrations that began as a rejection of the miniscule increase in subway ticket price they would end up transfiguring the horizon. The outbreak of that October caused at least 30 dead, hundreds of injured and detained. The police repression was the object of serious accusations by local and international human rights organizations. President Sebastian Piñera, who at first considered the challenges of the street an “act of war”, and later retraced his steps by accepting the strength of more than a million people in the heart of Santiago, remained silent this Monday. It could not be otherwise. The magnate, who had started his second term with the certainty that a long period of political hegemony of the right was coming, is about to be tried by Congress and is investigated at the same time by the anti-corruption prosecutor’s office after it was known that he participated in a million-dollar operation incompatible with his executive functions.

The Constitutional Convention chose the second anniversary of the social outbreak to begin working on the drafting of the new Constitution. Elisa Loncon, The President of the Assembly, of Mapuche origin, stressed that “for the first time the peoples of Chile have sat at a table, at a plural table and in conditions of equality and horizontality to discuss and think about a country where dignity becomes customary “. Loncon waited for the applause of the delegates to die down, adding:what honor and what responsibility do we have in our hands, constituent colleagues. It is imperative that we keep up with the times. Let’s work from tenderness and from thinking ”.

At the gates of the elections

The 18-0 was just the beginning of a cycle of demonstration and struggles that slowed down in intensity with the start of the pandemic that killed more than 48,000 people. The economy fell almost six points in 2020, exacerbating the problems that had triggered the collective explosion. With almost 80% of the population with at least one dose of the vaccine, the political temperature returned to settle in the streets. On November 21, the first electoral round of a contest will take place that can produce another phenomenon unimaginable two years ago: Gabriel Boric, the young left-wing deputy, appears as a favorite in the polls for the second round of December. It is possible that he will face the far-right José Antonio Kast.

Carlos Ruíz Encina, a sociologist and academic at the University of Chile, as well as a man close to Boric, warns that the traditional elite, without veto power in the Constituent Assembly, it has gone from MEA culpa for not having noticed the social bomb that existed in 2018 to think that “Nothing has occurred here“Now they believe that it is possible to obstruct” the processes of change. “According to Ruíz Encina, this is verified in the attempts to undermine the legitimacy of a Constituent Assembly that aims to draft a text of a progressive nature.

Pending subjects

There are still people serving sentences for their participation in the social outbreak. Others have not received responses to their repair requests. Anthony, a young man from the periphery who was thrown by the police into the Mapocho river, just turned 18. “I still look dead in the photos… I don’t know what I’m doing here. “Antonhy told the portal The bewilderment that he is disenchanted with what has happened after 18-0. It is not clear what will happen.

The same thing happens to him, although for other and dramatic reasons, more than 400 eye injury victims by the bullets of the security forces. They have repeatedly demanded justice and that “those who took part of our lives pay.” They still wait.

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