The President of Chile, Gabriel Boric, has affirmed that he is taking “with eyes and heart wide open” the result of the referendum that overthrew the draft of the new Constitution on September 4, although he is confident that the country will achieve “in the short term” a Magna Carta capable of guaranteeing what he understands the citizens want: “a future of change with stability”.
Boric has devoted much of his speech before the UN General Assembly to review the Chilean political scenario of recent years, warning that no country is exempt from mobilizations such as those that occurred during the “social outburst” of 2019, of which it is now about to be three years.
Those mobilizations, where “serious episodes of violence” and “uncontrolled repression” by the security forces also occurred, were the origin of an “intense political process” that continues to this day, an example of a “malaise” and a “weariness” that “perplexed many observers.” Boric urged other governments to “anticipate” this discontent, to seek “greater social justice” in their own countries.
The end of the “explosion” came in Chile with a multi-party compromise to “lay the foundations of a new social contract,” with a new Constitution as its main exponent. Chileans overwhelmingly supported the creation of an ‘ad hoc’ Constitutional Convention, but this very month they have overturned the proposed text.
Boric has admitted that citizens have rejected the draft in a “clear way” and has pointed out that, despite the fact that he was in favor of the ‘apruebo’, he does not feel the failed referendum as “a defeat” of his own. “A government can never feel defeated when the people pronounce themselves,” he said.
Now, it is time to seek “new formulas” to build a new “meeting place”, in an invitation from Boric to other political factions and representatives of civil society. He aspires to “combine the best of each one” to draft and approve a new Constitution, something feasible “in the short term”, in his opinion.
Boric did admit that the defeat has taught him to be “more humble” and, with a veiled allusion to his past as a student leader and participant in protests, he warned that “representing discomfort is much easier than presenting solutions”.
The Chilean president also took advantage of his speech to allude to other major issues of international current affairs, from the climate emergency to the “unjust war” unleashed in Ukraine by Russia’s decision. Boric pointed out that the conflict is a cause of global destabilization, as would be the “trade war” between the United States and Russia or the COVID-19 pandemic.
In relation to Latin America, Boric has alluded to the “tremendous pressure” that the migratory flow derived from Venezuela, scenario of a “prolonged political crisis”, at the same time that he has demanded the liberation of the “political prisoners” in Nicaragua.
Boric has been involved in recent days in a diplomatic crisis with Israel after refusing to receive the ambassador as a gesture of political criticism for the death of a Palestinian in the West Bank. From the UN, he has called “not to naturalize the permanent violations of human rights against the Palestinian people”, although he has also claimed the “legitimate right of Israel to live within secure borders”.