This October’s historic referendum in Chile saw a massive 78 percent vote to abandon the Pinochet-era constitution. Today, social movements are pushing for a new document that offers broad welfare and environmental guarantees — but first, they must confront an oligarchy hell-bent on thwarting any fundamental change.
Octavio García Soto is a freelance journalist and has written for La Tercera (Chile), La Estrella (Panamá), and Taz (Germany).
This summer, in a COVID-19–driven economic crisis, Chile’s opposition forced the right-wing government to allow desperate citizens to draw on their privatized pension funds. But in a constitutional referendum tomorrow, Chileans may go a step further and vote to scrap these widely hated pension funds altogether.
After last October’s popular revolt, Chileans are due to vote on a new constitution to replace the current Pinochet-era document. But far-right forces are mobilizing to prevent any change — threatening deadly violence against social movements and indigenous people.