Constitutional Process

Chile Tomorrow: “Chile Never Really Left the Shadow of the Dictatorship”

SANTIAGO – Apr. 26 is set to be a historic date for Chile: in a referendum, the country will decide whether to create a new constitution or maintain the current one. To explore Chileans’ priorities, Chile Today will be interviewing one voter every week. In our fifth Chile Tomorrow: Gloria Salvat, a 70-year-old retiree whose experiences from the dictatorship urge her to vote for the Apruebo.

My name is Gloria Salvat. I am a 70-year-old retiree, and I no longer work. I will vote Apruebo in the April plebiscite, mainly because the current Constitution was created by an incredibly capable person, but who used his capabilities to make a perfect constitution for those in power. That’s why I want to change some things, I’m not sure if I want to change everything but I want to change some things.

I support protests and I believe that this was the only way for people to have their voices heard, it is sort of like screaming during an argument, sometimes you have to do it to make your voice heard; although I don’t support violent protests: I think the legitimacy of the protests changes when you start burning things and hitting people.

My experience during the dictatorship was big, because I lived with my family at the time and our house was by the Universidad de Chile campus. We actually shared a wall with the university. So when the military coup happened, the army trapped a lot of left-wing students at the campus, and we allowed them to cross into our house and escape.

For part IV of Chile Tomorrow, click here:

Chile Tomorrow: ‘Our Voices Will Be Heard’

Because of this, my dad, who was an architect with the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning, lost his job. The military claimed that he had been throwing bombs out of his office window, a claim that they used to fire him and to blacklist him from other jobs which also happened to me, since I had graduated from the Manuel de Salas school, which was seen as a leftist school.

I also think that Chile never really left the shadow of the dictatorship, and that by changing the current Constitution we will be able to properly move on.

The main things that I want to change in the Constitution are the parts that aren’t working properly like the workers protections, how the legislative branch works – all those things I would change. Mainly, I want there to be a focus on justice. I feel that the current Constitution doesn’t guarantee justice for its citizens. I also believe that there should be a big focus on democracy and on listening to people’s demands and that people should not be afraid to express themselves.

I believe the plebiscite should be postponed due to the coronavirus, however; otherwise, not everyone will go out to vote – a lot of people will stay home afraid of the virus – and we will end up with a vote that does not accurately represent the choice of the people.

For part III of Chile Tomorrow, click here:

Chile Tomorrow: “The Best Thing we can do is Boycott the Plebiscite”

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