Why a hooligan-cum-activist attacks Chilean right-wing leaders

The leader of right-wing UDI party was threatened after giving a TV interview. A far-right group accuses anybody who engages in talks over a new constitutional process of being a traitor. Former hooligan Francisco Muñoz, whose rap sheet includes homicide, is a major figure in these attacks.

A former hooligan leader, Francisco Muñoz, commonly known as Pancho Malo, and a group he leads, Team Patriota, attacked the leadership of right-wing Independent Democratic Union (UDI) party because they are, however tacitly, engaging in talks over a new Constitution.

The entire right-wing spectrum and parts of the old center-left celebrated a major victory when the constitutional proposal was widely rejected in the Sept. 4 plebiscite. Yet, general consensus among political elites seems to be that some sort of profound reform is needed.

Talks on the new constitutional process are currently advancing in Congress, pushed, among others, by UDI head Javier Macaya.

But actors further to the right interpreted the 62%/38% result of the plebiscite as a confirmation of the current Constitution, imposed during the dictatorship in 1980. Actors like Muñoz therefore deride politicians who engage in talks as traitors.

After Macaya was threatened by Team Patriota members on Sept. 25, local media quoted him as saying that “I am willing to be called a traitor, to be called-out, for the sake that Chile may put the ball on the ground regarding the constitutional matter.” UDI secretary general María José Hoffmann was threatened the same day in Las Condes.

Textbook Extremist

Muñoz is an extreme figure. He was the leader of Garra Blanca, violent hooligans supporting Colo Colo football club.

In 2000, Muñoz was convicted of homicide in Vitacura district and spent six months in prison. In 2006 and 2010, he was again detained in the wake of Garra Blanca violence and even threatened Colo Colo players.
His Team Patriota is a far-right group and admires Augusto Pinochet. It was founded in 2019, after political parties agreed on a constitutional process to detain the social uprising.

Such extreme organizations were lifted during the constitutional campaign in the run-up to the plebiscite, as formal right-wing parties ceded space and chose to hide their extremely unpopular leaders, whose appearances, they feared, would have favored the campaign for the new Constitution.

Muñoz remains popular among media decision-makers. He appears on TV and is regularly cited in major news outlets.

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