We spoke with Marco Enriquez-Ominami, a Chilean-French politician and a reference point for Latin American progressivism. Philosopher, filmmaker, former deputy, four-time candidate for the Presidency of Chile, founder of the Progressive Party, the Progresa Foundation and the Puebla Group.

By Bárbara Fuentes

It was in 2009 when Marco Enríquez-Ominami ran for the first time for the presidency of Chile after having been Deputy for District 10 of the Valparaíso Region, making the leap directly to the presidential election. For more than 15 years this left-wing leadership has been fighting for a fairer and more egalitarian country.

On September 4, 2022, Chile will experience the Plebiscite to ratify or not, the text of a new Constitution, which is being drafted by the 155 members that make up the Constitutional Convention, a process that emerged after a profound social revolt (awakening or social explosion) that the country experienced from October 18, 2019. In this way, in mid 2022, Chile will experience a new Plebiscite to approve or reject the new Constitution, we share Marco Enríquez-Ominami’s reflection on this important process.

What is the importance of this milestone for Chile?

The new constitution for Chile is fundamental, because they are the rules of a country that for 210 years knew rules imposed by the military, rich, men and whites. It is the first time that we will have a new parity constitution, which has become a world historical milestone, a constitution that will emanate from a diverse Chile, where women, indigenous peoples, citizens of a heterogeneous Chile participate, with a diversity of representatives that make up and represent Chilean society.

Why will you vote for “I approve” in the plebiscite to exit the constituent process that Chile is going through?

I will vote Apruebo and I will call to vote Apruebo for the new constitution, even if it has many imperfections, it will overcome and will do so in a plebiscite, the concept of the Subsidiary State, this idea imposed by the economists of the Pinochet dictatorship where the State is subordinated to the market. At least the new constitution will guarantee the possibility that the state will be the arm and the market the tool, which will allow us to advance step by step with more social justice.

What are the political and social transformations you expect with the approval of a new constitution for Chile?

The political and social transformations that I expect are at least seven rights that the State will have to guarantee: Education, Health, Transport, Housing, Social Security, Water and Internet. But also, a political system that takes charge of the permanent crisis that Latin America is experiencing in terms of democracy and institutionality.

You have been promoting the idea of a Constituent Assembly for Chile for more or less 15 years…

Indeed, since I entered politics in 2006, I have been pushing for a new constituent process for Chile. Many years passed, we had to confront conservatives on the left and on the right, and we have succeeded. It is a disruptive, difficult, complicated process, even so, any change always has a disruptive element and we hope that the change will be more like the quiet force for change that Chile needs.

I call on all the people of Chile to participate and to vote Apruebo in the exit plebiscite on September 4th.

Thank you very much Marco!