“La Coordinadora” is one of the groups campaigning for the Rechazo option on Sept. 4. In a Chile Today exclusive, the organization’s director, Claudio Salinas, analyzed the constitutional process and the final text. He also explains the group rejects it.
Why are you backing Rechazo on Sept. 4?
Through “La Coordinadora,” we participate actively in this process. We believed that civil society should have played an important role in [the creation of the new Constitution], due to its significance for the country’s future. One of the mechanisms that we used to participate was the public audiences, [and] we enrolled 50 of them, [but] we only got to participate in two. We also back 15 popular initiatives for norms, but they were all rejected. This made us feel disappointed with the process, since we had a lot of expectations about it. The Convention was not able to listen to the dreams of Chilean society, and the text proposal had many flaws that made us realize that it does not represent us and convinced us not to approve it.
Do you think the Constitutional Process fulfilled the expectations of the citizenship?
I think that this process has let down society in general. We accomplished our informative role in popular sectors of Santiago, and we saw how people put all their hopes in how this process was going to change their lives. It was expected that the new Constitution would establish the foundations for changes, but sadly the Convention didn’t take advantage of this historical opportunity of taking over the social agenda.
If Rechazo wins the election, how do you propose to make those changes society seeks?
“La Coordinadora” supports the “C Plan,” which has the purpose to establish a third way that allows us, through the Rechazo option, to keep moving for the changes that Chile needs. This Sept. 4, rejection does not mean that everything will stay as before. It means to work for the legitimate changes that the country expects. The first step is to establish a third way before the September vote, that will allow us to do the work society needs. After the referendum, the citizens must define how they want to continue. We don’t agree with the proposal of doing a new Convention that President Boric made, because that decision belongs to the people. We propose a new agreement that, for example, will establish an expert panel, which is an idea that is growing in strength in society. But mainly, we are here for the people to make that choice.
In your own judgment, what is failing in the final text?
We believe that this text does not represent the soul of the country. In the first place, we think that this text will give more power to politicians. For example, it creates regional assemblies that will lead to more bureaucracy and higher public spending. Then, with the Plurinational State, the equality before the law ends, creating first and second class citizens, when we are all Chileans. A second element is that the people will see their rights and guarantees limited. There are limits in matters of health and pensions. This text didn’t take care of the social agenda. It assures a decent home, but not the right to own it. It contains flaws in structural matters of the organization of the nation that may cause huge consequences.
In case Apruebo wins, do you think that the text should be reformed?
Reforming the text is very difficult because of the locks they put on modifications. It requires a very high quorum, so in case Apruebo wins, we will have to evaluate as citizens what is the best thing to do.
How do you feel about the campaign?
This next weeks, the key is to demonstrate, [first], how bad the text is for Chile. But not with the objective of it to be a terror campaign. [And second], to point out that there is hope in Rechazo, to keep moving on to better politics and the transformations that the country needs.
Catalina Vergara is graduated in Social Communications from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She has previously worked on Strategic Communications.