n his last speech on September 11, 1973, while the air force was bombing La Moneda, Salvador Allende expressed his confidence that sooner or later great avenues would open where Chilean men and women would march to build a better society. It took longer than we all expected, but finally yesterday they opened and the result was a categorical triumph for the left and a crushing defeat for the right. In what everyone considered as “the mother of all battles”, the election of the Constitutional Convention, the “octubristas”, daughters, and sons of the great insurrectional days that began on October 18, 2019, achieved a majority that blew up the bolt of the tricky “third block” clause.As a condition for accepting the call to the Constituent Convention, the right-wing had imposed the two-thirds rule for the quorum and for approving the contents of the new constitution. Piñera and his cronies were sure that the ballot boxes would produce a result that would guarantee them this veto power, by obtaining 35 or 40 percent of the popular vote. But the citizenry decided otherwise. They punished their government and its allies for three reasons: the disastrous management of the covid-19 crisis (so admired by the Argentine media hitmen and the leadership of Juntos por el Cambio), the brutality of the repression of popular protests, and the sudden awareness of the plundering to which the people of Chile had been subjected for decades by the ruling neoliberalism, mainly due to a perverse pension system and the exorbitant indebtedness to which millions of families were condemned to fall below the poverty line. Result: the worst election of the right-wing since 1965. Particularly disastrous was the result of the once-powerful Christian Democracy, which will only have three of the 155 conventional members of the body.
The debacle of the right-wing was also verified beyond the results of the Constitutional Convention. There were other equally emblematic defeats, such as the one experienced in a traditional (and strategic) bastion such as the Mayor’s Office of Santiago, no less, which consecrated Irací Hassler, a young communist who defeated the incumbent, Felipe Alessandri, grandson of the conservative former president Jorge Alessandri, who had run for reelection. Or the overwhelming victory of Daniel Jadue, a mayor of the commune of Recoleta, north of Santiago, who won with 65 percent of the votes and is emerging as one of the best-positioned pre-candidates for the presidential election to be held in November of this year. In Valparaíso, Jorge Sharp, of Revolución Democrática/Frente Amplio, was reelected. But his comrades snatched no less than Viña del Mar from the most reactionary conservative forces and also conquered the communities of Ñuñoa, Maipú, and Valdivia, in the region of Los Lagos, where a former student leader and member of Revolución Democrática, Carla Amtmann, was elected.
The governors of the sixteen regions were also contested, something new in Chile. They do not have many powers in a historically unitary country, but there were still situations illustrative of this change in the trans-Andean political climate. The Frente Amplio won the governorship of Valparaíso in the first round and other opposition forces did the same in the extreme south: Aysén and Magallanes. In the other 13 regions, there will be a second ballot and previous estimates indicate that it will be very unlikely that the right-wing will win more than two governorships. In Santiago, a great battle will be fought between the Christian Democrat Claudio Orrego, son of a historical leader of that force (and fierce opponent of Salvador Allende’s government, closely linked to the US embassy, as was shown by declassified CIA documents) and Karina Oliva, of the Communes Party, a new popular group which has the support of other left-wing forces. Oliva is at the opposite side of Orrego, a family belonging to Chile’s traditional political caste, and defines herself as “single mother of Emilia, feminist and popular woman, political scientist, of the Frente Amplio and a militant of the Communes Party.”
In short: the political-electoral situation has changed for the better in Chile and this encourages promising expectations not only for that country but for all Latin America. The neoliberal project, of which Chile was its flagship, is exhausted, and last weekend’s election was the first signature on its official death certificate. The second and final one will be known for the rest of the year, Meanwhile, there are still some who yearn to imitate the “successful” Chilean model and its exemplary of the pandemic and the economic crisis in Argentina. They too will have a rude awakening.
source and translation Red en Defensa de la Humanidad – Cuba