The governing alliance in Chile today is dealing with “damage control”, after it was revealed in the press that influence peddling was used to financially feed, with direct and millionaire flows, NGOs administered by cadres of Giorgio Jackson’s party, “Revolución Democrática” (RD). The political responses were to remove from office those directly involved in these situations, namely the Regional Ministerial Secretary (SEREMI) of Antofagasta and the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development. For its part, the RD expelled two activists: the aforementioned SEREMI and the Director of the NGO “Democracia Viva” and froze the membership of the party’s Deputy for the region of Antofagasta, for having organic and sentimental links with those expelled. As a result of this case, new complaints have been lodged with the same Housing Ministry in two other regions of the country, for potentially identical situations, foreshadowing an exponential Pandora’s box.

The public discourse of Winter, deputy of the president’s party, Convergencia Social (CS), is very enlightening of the look that determines the political direction of the government; A media discourse in which he assumes not only the impossibility of implementing “progressive” public policy projects, as they like to call them, and in practice support the agenda of the neo-liberal de facto power, but also clarifies today that they have also lost the naivety of promoting a project of “proba state administration”; an unmanageable question, given that it would go through the caliber of the composition called to assume the positions of the executive at the different levels.

From the presidency of the Comunes party, comes the public revenge, since they are coming out of the case of corruption in the management of state contributions to the campaigns for the governorship in the Metropolitan Region, a situation in which they suffered from their partners in the Frente Amplio the scorn and the law of ice, even by those who they supported and carried on their lists as independents.

We also see the forced silence in the press of the Communist wing and its fringes, which will surely be analysing how this weakening of “the parties of the young” will allow them to make a move that will give them a better position in the quotas for positions in the executive.

Meanwhile, the right-wing parties: the Concertación, already in control of the government (PS, PR, PPD), and the traditional parties obviously share the unhealthy satisfaction that the discourse of probity that has been unveiling their abuses and corruptions in the framework of the thirty years of the “transition”, as they christened this agreement, and their criminal practices, known as “malpractices” in the euphemistic language in use, has spilled out.

The framework of this revelation (which she says would have come from the FA itself, in the heat of a struggle between those who bet on the organic merger of all parties into one and those who defend the autonomy of the various collectivities) is a continuity of abuses and corrupt practices everywhere that reveal the status of political life and power in the country.

In detail, the State Defence Council reports that 51% of the country’s municipalities are currently under investigation for corruption, with the emblematic case being that of the right-wing mayor of Vitacura, accused of tax fraud and embezzlement of public funds. And if we look at the statistics for political parties, the UDI leads the ranking as the party with the most corruption cases in the last five years.

In this line, we cannot fail to mention how in the last government their political positions were not disqualified in the work tables on the issue of water rights, despite being part of the “owners of rights”, installing an unprecedented abuse in the country.

In the Armed Forces, we have the “Paco Gate” with an amount of thirty billion embezzled, one hundred and thirty officials prosecuted, at least three high commanders implicated, and today in the process of being “diluted” in the media scenario along with the promises of re-founding this police institution. The “Milico Gate” was also in the news, for a lesser amount, but with a similar outcome.

In the so-called private world, the panorama is no different. The country’s large commercial shops were caught with the sale of prestigious and expensive brands of clothing, manufactured clandestinely and falsely, shamelessly deceiving their customers. In the case of the mining companies, with their anti-union and manipulation system, known as subcontracting, where companies outside the mining companies hire workers and these, doing the same work, have lower salaries; the abuse is crowned when it transcends that in an emergency situation, in which the workers were evacuated from the interior of the El Teniente mine of Codelco, the subcontracted workers were left for the last evacuation, with the risks and discrimination that this implied.

Finally, we can see how, five years after the Law on Labour Inclusion came into force, companies prefer to pay fines rather than incorporate these people, and that studies show the very low level of supervision of compliance with this right, which has been enshrined after years of legislative processing.

And Chile, despite the above, which is what is known, and which is obviously a small part of what really happens, according to international measurements, is still considered a country with low levels of corruption. According to Transparency International’s Corruption Perceptions Index 2021, it ranked 27th out of 180 countries where 0 is “no corruption”.

However, as has been shown, there is concrete evidence of a culture of irregularities and high-level corruption that involves the dominant economic and political elites and that not only weakens the judicial and political systems, which should be in place to prevent corruption.

judicial and political systems, which should be at the service of the public good, but also cause poverty, hinder development and hamper investment.

These dishonest or criminal acts by officials and authorities, in public and private institutions, who put their personal interests first and abuse their positions of power by intentionally misusing the financial and human resources to which they have access, have no exemplary legal penalties to set a precedent in putting an end to this behaviour. Moreover, there is almost never any ethical condemnation, no allusion to the moral distortion of those who undermine the values of probity, the common good and respect for the law in favour of the extreme ambition for material gain, a characteristic symptom of the neoliberal model that has upwardly elevated material interest and greed as a stimulus to achieve supposed development and prosperity, but whose disintegrating results on public faith are already appearing in their true magnitude.

Criticism and condemnation, in accordance with the penal code, are limited to quantifying material damage and imposing fines or compensation according to a table of values or a price list. This “punishment” has allowed us to see people in the senate who occupy certain posts and senior leaders of convicted parties, who continue to function as if nothing had happened. In short, we are witnessing the actions of a system, the basis of which is power, which has values, practices and a naturalised direction of criminal acts, and for which there are no exemplary laws to curb it.

It is useless to reiterate only the condemnation of corruption. We denounce as the origin of this corruption of the system, individualism and the supposed “economic freedom” that favours personal enrichment at any cost and, for this reason, it is not legally considered as a crime and harm against society.

And while this is happening, the proposed Law of Political Responsibility (which allows for dismissal), presented by the humanist deputy Laura Rodríguez at the beginning of the 1990s, is still in Congress without being able to become a reality, it is still “sleeping” …….

Collaborators: M. Angélica Alvear Montecinos; Sandra Arriola Oporto; Iván Barrera Avendaño; Guillermo Garcés Parada and César Anguita Sanhueza. Public Opinion Commission