Constitutional Process NATIONAL

25O – Patricio Guzmán: ‘The Dictatorship Took Chile Hostage’

Chile is a country of a million faces. Or nearly 19 million, to be more exact. Chile Today sat down with some of them, well-known for their contributions to science, arts, media, or sports. First up in his own words is filmmaker Patricio Guzmán.

“Everything happening right now, from the protests up to the referendum, is related to the dictatorship. The dictatorship is something you can never delete. It will always be with us.

“Since returning to democracy, we have had various social eruptions with people protesting, like right now. The students protests, for example. It means the country is moving forward.

“But we haven’t worked on enough reforms since returning to democracy. Not enough people demanded justice when the dictatorship ended. It was only after Pinochet was taken prisoner, we could really advance.”

The Estallido

“Chile was taken hostage by the dictatorship for so long, psychologically speaking. It was like an earthquake we never suffered before. But after all those years, a new generation stood up. They woke up and provoked something that eventually led to more than one million people marching on Plaza Baquedano.

“I remember the night of October 18th well. I was in my house, here in France. I started receiving news of what was happening. It felt like a surprise, I never expected this. I think no one did.

“There was this feeling of general discontent. If you look back, a real unique social explosion, also unique here in Latin America. However, it doesn’t feel yet like we are living in a new Chile since the estallido. But the referendum brings us that possibility.”

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Apruebo vs. Rechazo: Watch the Campaign Videos Here

The Referendum

“The referendum gives us a chance to walk a new road, a road towards a new Constitution. Made possible by people that do not belong to any organization or movement, but who stood up against the system because they were fed up.

“I will be present to witness that change. I am going to Santiago to shoot a documentary about the referendum, about the process after the referendum. We don’t exactly know what we will do, we will see how it evolves once we arrive in Santiago.

“But, of course, I am also going to vote. I am going to vote for the future, for a new Chile. I will vote for all the changes one can make. Without a doubt. And Apruebo will win, I am completely sure of that. The doors towards change have opened, the horizon is clearer, and the people will vote without doubt, without fear.”
The Constitution

“On the 26th I hope we will wake up in a country with new energy. It is the most beautiful thing a country can experience, when you feel that there is this sensation of change in the air. When Allende was chosen president, you could open the window and feel a similar sensation. It was a dream coming true. A very good sensation. Its like the country had transformed overnight.

“I think right now, we will have the same feeling, but because of the amount of people who want change, it will be even stronger than in the Allende years.

“But, of course, it is important to remember we are not there yet. We will need to work hard and without rest for profound changes. Also, we must be vigilant of that group in society that does not want a new future, but instead wants to bring Chile back to the past. That group that is afraid of changes. But the most important thing is that the majority supports the changes.

“If I must choose one thing that should improve in the new Constitution, then it is education. If education advances, if the professors advance, Chile advances. It’s the most important thing for a country, education.”

Patricio Guzmán is an internationally awarded Chilean film director, who directed films such as the La Batalla de Chile-trilogy, El Caso Pinochet and Salvador Allende.

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