Amarillos por Chile, a group claiming to represent the post-dictatorship coalition has received much media attention. It pretends to be important and warns about the path the country’s taking with the proposed new Constitution. Yet, most of the group’s members live on right-wing media and political inventions, their surnames, and others’ achievements.
Over the last couple months, a group calling itself Amarillos por Chile, claiming progressive and center-left ground, has emerged to comment on the constitutional process.
The group wants to suggest that concerns over transitioning into a Chile governed by a new Constitution affect all political sectors, but it sells these concerns as prudence, moderation, or political know-how.
Faux History of Amarillos por Chile
They are so steeped in the tradition of the Concertación, the center-left coalition that governed post-dictatorship Chile for decades, that in an act of magical thinking they declared the model between 1990 and 2010 a social democracy.
What’s the basis for their claim? Perhaps the wish that tone, promises, and expectations transform one day into what the coalition never was.
Perhaps most interesting about the Amarillos is that they were not relevant in the process of reclaiming democracy. They are generally people who lived on their parents’ surname and offices or achievements or sacrifices in the early post-dictatorship era.
Mariana Aylwin as a great example. Apart from having been a lawmaker and Education Minister, her role was marginal; she was never a prominent leader – until her father, Patricio Aylwin, the first democratic president after the dictatorship, died.
From then on, right/center-right outlets like El Mercurio and La Tercera created a certain non-existent “Aylwinism” around her person, appointing her a great defender of something that was supposedly dying quickly.
Privileged and Talentless
This approach manifested over the years and consolidated after the social outbreak of 2019 and the debate around the Constitutional Convention. The baton was taken up by Cristián Warnken, a television interviewer who, apparently, also believes himself to be the representative of a Concertación ethos, promoting the politics of yesteryear as if they had not been full of deadlock, implicit and explicit prohibitions, and were established by fear that later transformed into comfort.
Warnken, too, did not play a role in the period he praises so much. He did not experience the terror, the political crossroads, nor was he part of the decisions he celebrates. Warnken, Aylwin, Fulvio Rossi and so many who defend the morality of 1989 plebiscite that did away with the dictatorship live on glories and sacrifices of other people, their family or extended family. They talk as if they had been part of decisive measures implemented in the past and as if they understood why certain things were done.
That’s the great problem for them, laying claim to sanity: they have no real credibility to ponder governance or comment on the constitutional path, because they never faced dilemmas like those the country must face now.
The Way Forward
Although some or other former minister also belongs to the group, most members who lay claim to saving the country are talentless heirs to eternal promises, swearing to the mirror to be similar to their parents, but they never succeeded.
It is important to distinguish positions and not get carried away by what some claim to represent. If we want to appeal to the history of the Concertación, it is urgent that it be discussed in all its dimensions, including the successes and mistakes, with a clear context about what happened and how.
If we fail to do so, we will remain trapped in false controversies and false discussions in which those who claim to represent something were never even aware of events that marked an era.
Francisco Méndez is a political analyst and writes columns for several Chilean outlets. His Twitter handle is @Franmen.