One month before Chile’s general referendum, in which more than 15 million voters will decide whether to approve or reject the new constitution proposed at the beginning of July by the Constituent Assembly, an independent think tank. public space A symposium was held Thursday in Santiago de Chile to discuss the background, implications and possible scenarios that will open after the referendum on 4 September. They did so as 16 experts, from Chile and abroad, dissected the proposal. “No matter which option we choose, we at Espacio Público believe that it is essential that the decision be communicated, taking into account all the elements that allow us to make the decision,” emphasized the Economist Paula Benavides, CEO of the Study Centre, who highlighted the history of the significance of the elections, which will be mandatory.
in the seminar #Let’s talk about the constitution The distribution of power was discussed in a conversation moderated by Diego Gil, an academic from the Public School of the Catholic University of Chile. Maria Victoria Murillo, Director of the Institute of Latin American Studies at Columbia University. For Gabriel Negrito, PhD director at the Institute of Political Science of the Catholic University of Chile, “the first judgment that must be made by the new constitution is whether it responds to the historical reasons that made it necessary and to try to overcome the shortcomings that have been revealed by experts and the public.” Julita Suárez Cao, Associate Professor at the Institute of Political Science of the Catholic University of Chile and a member of network of political scientistsemphasized the redistribution of regional power: “Any move towards more decentralization would imply a redistribution of power in our country. We can see the regional state as an intermediary between a decentralized unitary state and a federal state.”
Social rights were one of the aspects that generated the greatest consensus on the new constitution, and further discussions took place at the symposium on this point, where the challenges of implementing the constitution were addressed. Moderated by Luis Cordero, Academician at the University of Chile and Director of Espacio Público, this discussion space included the participation of Verónica Undurraga, Academician at Adolfo Ibáñez University Law School and Director of the Study Center, who focused specifically on proposing a feminist constitution, where domestic work and care are recognized: “68% Of the care work in Chile done by women is direct care work – caring for children or the elderly, for example – and indirect, with respect to tasks such as washing. It represents 22% of Chile’s GDP, if a replacement rate is made”, Undurraga clarified with regard to one of the most relevant rights, in his opinion, that the proposal contains. “It is much more than a new right. It is part of the agreement,” the lawyer said.
Rodrigo Obremeni, a full professor at the National University of Colombia, spoke about social rights. The care system represents a revolution in the understanding of social compact and economic thought. Much more than the rights of nature seem to me controversial.” For Joan Suberats, Minister of Spanish Universities and expert in public policies, “The Constitution, in its current draft, points to a decentralized logic. The level of detail between rights requires a convergence that state logic would not normally consider.” For the same reason, he asserted, “the implementation framework is very demanding.”
One of the most controversial aspects of the September 4 referendum text relates to pluralism of nationalities and this was discussed in the third space of the Public Space Symposium, moderated by Danny Jaimowicz, Academician, PhD Director in Economics at the University. dead Jorge Contes, Professor at Rutgers School of Law (USA), noted that Chile and Uruguay are the only Latin American countries that do not constitutionally recognize their indigenous peoples: the development of international law for more than a century,” emphasized Contes. For Sherine Morris, full professor at the University of Macquarie (Australia), “Constitutions are agreements that generate power, and all too often, indigenous peoples cannot refer to the constitutions imposed on their lands,” so “indigenous constitutional recognition seeks an equitable power relationship.”
The seminar #HablemosDelProcesoConstituciónnte concluded with a discussion on the opportunity the referendum represents to address conflicts in Chile. Moderated by economist Andrea Repetto, Director of Espacio Público, this conversation featured Cathia Araujo, an academic from the University of Santiago de Chile, a key thinker in Chilean social life, and a reference author for understanding the 2019 outbreak. For Araujo, Chile’s conflicts over Concentration of wealth, power, and recognition, along with values conflicts within society. People in Chile today face very high degrees of fatigue due to demands and doubts, they have a very great distance from all institutions and a high degree of retreat from their immediate world. Chilean society is in very great conflict over the norms, values, codes and principles that govern social relations. “It is not just a political dispute,” the researcher said.
Writer Patricio Fernandez, director of Espacio Público, who was a traditional member, said that “what will be played out in the referendum is which campaign is less arrogant, which listens more to the concerns of those who are not sure, and which generates more confidence to move forward on the path that promises.” Meanwhile, Marta Ruiz, commissioner of the Commission for Clarification of Truth, Coexistence and Non-Recurrence of Colombia, paralleled her country’s experience. “The Constitution of 91 arose out of a very deep crisis. Of course, not all problems have been solved, but today all Colombians defend it.” In turn, Ruiz highlighted the importance of listening: “Sometimes, in these situations, one thinks that the important thing is who shouts the most, but it is necessary to listen to those who refuse, And what expresses this rejection. Dialogue requires an institutional effort,” emphasized the Colombian journalist a month before the referendum that is trying to politically orient the social division in Chile.
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