Constitutional Process

Chile Tomorrow: “We Can’t Continue With Pinochet’s Constitution”

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 first Chile Tomorrow: Javiera Garcés, a journalism student who has been an active member of the social protests.

Javiera Garcés is a journalism student from Las Condes currently studying at Andrés Bello University. She has been an active member of the protests and has found herself many times in the front lines yelling at the police and hiding from the water truck along  with her fellow protesters. Chile Today asked her what she thought of the coming plebiscite.

We met up at a quiet park in Las Condes, where we could speak in peace, but Garcés couldn’t sit still, so we ended up walking around the neighborhood. She tells me that she’s a very active person and that she has to do something or else she won’t be able to sleep at night. Because of this, she goes to the gym every day and plays soccer for a local team.

“Of course I support it,” she said when asked about the protesting, “I’ve been going since October, although not every day.” She said that at first she was nervous about participating but as time went on she gained confidence and pushed closer to the front line.

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When asked about the Apr. 26 plebiscite she confirmed that she will vote to approve. “In short, I support the new constitution because I want it to be made during a period of democracy, we can’t continue with Pinochet’s constitution.” Garcés also talked about the way in which the referendum was achieved, mainly as a result of the recent violent protests in Chile. To this she added that she fully supports them now even though before October she would normally side with the Carabineros (Chile’s national police force).

When it comes to what she would like to see in a new constitution, she took a minute to think and responded that she wanted to see more emphasis on national commerce and on the small businesses that exist in Chile. “For an assignment in one of my classes I had to investigate the National Patriotic Movement, and they would always emphasize their support of locally-owned companies, that way Chile can grow without being reliant on international companies.”

As we finished the interview she also mentioned that she hopes that the protests don’t slow down and that they should not stop until real change is made, citing the French yellow vest movement as an inspiration to what is actively going on. “I really admire the French, they managed to actively change history by simply going out on the streets and protesting. They did it back then and are still doing it, and I really hope that we manage to do something similar.”

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