We are in times of recounting our history, five decades in which the call to the viveza chilensis has been manifesting itself in the ambit of power, unleashing that characteristic that homogenises the Chilean political elite and makes them sing ( quietly, so that the people do not hear, my grandmother would say) “the left and the right united, will never be defeated”, giving rise to a caste, at all levels, of officials “without god, law or political parties” dedicated to emptying the State.

In the dreamed space of power and privileges, he would be “the king of the jerks” if he did not take advantage (if “they are giving it to him”) and in the midst of these profound reflections of the “owners” of Chilean politics, multiple ways of “putting their hands in” and “lining their pockets” are hatched in their heads.

We have the dictator Augusto, who uses the alias of Daniel López, to open accounts in the gringo Riggs bank, for more than 21 million dollars, at the no end of his term. Alongside him his immortal (like Munra from ThunderCats) and brand-new wife Doña Lucia, who is not far behind and appropriates the properties given by the State to the “philanthropic” entity CEMA CHILE, whose sales, as investigated by CIPER, only in Santiago, reach a total income of about 7.7 million dollars.

His period also saw the beginning of the looting by the civilian coup leaders of state-owned companies, acquisitions that made those who acquired them rich (SQM, for example, acquired by Pinochet’s son-in-law, Julio Ponce Lerou, a company that we will see will be involved in the most heated cases of political corruption in this history).

But an empire, a kingdom cannot not have a noble defector, and in 1982, the then judge of the Second Criminal Court of Santiago, Luis Correa Bulo, ordered the arrest of Miguel Juan Sebastián Piñera Echenique, symbol of exitism and the “country cat”, in order to answer for various infractions of the General Law of Banks and the defrauding of the Banco de Talca. Cecilia Morel said, when the police arrived at her residence to make the arrest, that: “She left the house and didn’t even say goodbye to me” (did she go out to buy cigarettes?). However, the fairy godmothers cast the spell of “there is no worse blind man than the one who does not want to see” and the little nobleman was able to be a candidate for the presidency of Chile and twice elected as the standard bearer of the national right-wing bloc.

In the period of Lagos, with his finger smelling of corruption, his Minister of Public Works, Mr Cruz, “who died with his boots on” and with his mouth shut tight, took on the respective condemnation by arresting the involvement of his “boss” in the bustling MOP-Gate. According to the justice system at the time, the MOP paid overpayments to 129 civil servants for work that was not carried out and at the same time the Gate company received payments for concessioned highways (the companies at the time financed millionaire political campaigns, delegitimized but legal).

Well, let’s leave the dwellers of La Moneda and let’s not leave out of the count the liveliness of the “honourable”.
Jaime Orpis, of the right-wing UDI party, convicted of a total of six counts of repeated tax fraud and two counts of bribery in the context of the Corpesca case, which led him to become the first politician in the country to be sentenced to effective prison sentences.

Pablo Longueira, former minister, former senator and former president of the UDI: the State Defence Council (CDE) emphatically exposed the accusations against him. The large sums of money received by the foundations managed by Longueira from SQM, “disguised” as charitable donations, raise the following question in the CDE: What donation, as a mere liberality, requires that ideologically false receipts be given to the donor? In the opinion of the CDE, a collegiate body representing the Chilean Treasury, this is evidence – as an indication – of its character as an “undue advantage”.

Jovino Novoa, founder of the Independent Democratic Union (UDI), president of this party and senator, pleads guilty and is convicted in the Penta case. In his judgement, the judge held that “the accused is convicted as the author of tax offences and deferred the wording of the ruling and determination of the quantum of the sentence”. The judicial punishment should be three years in prison remitted, the fine of 50% of the tax damage. His lawyers said that their client “will not reoffend”, reported El Ciudadano.

Iván Moreira, UDI senator, the one with the bronze phrase “mine was the scraping of the pot”, avoids oral trial in the PENTA case and frees himself from an eventual conviction in exchange for the payment of a fine of 35 million pesos; this two months after the Supreme Court confirmed the parliamentarian’s desafuero by nine votes in favour and eight against.

Jorge Pizarro (DC): In April 2015, the Internal Revenue Service (SII) included his children’s company – Ventus – in a list of private individuals and companies that received irregular payments from Soquimich. In an interview, published in La Tercera, his tone was one of complaint and annoyance. “No, no, clearly not”, she replied when asked her if SQM’s money had financed her senatorial campaign, omitting the information that part of the $45 million that SQM paid Ventus for work that had no backing, ended up in her current account at Banco Security.

At the level of mayors, we have also collected many stories on the subject of criminal activities, but we highlight the cases that have been the most talked about in the press. Karen Rojo (IND-UDI), former mayor of Antofagasta: in 2018, she was indicted for the crime of fraud against the Treasury as a result of the contracting in 2015, through the Social Development Corporation, of the consultancy Main Comunicación Estratégica, using these services for her election campaign.

At the end of 2016, fraud was uncovered in the Corporation for Culture and the Arts of Rancagua, presided over by the UDI mayor of that commune, Eduardo Soto. The mayor is charged and the Public Prosecutor’s Office is investigating his links with a production company from his election campaign that is a “favourite supplier” of the corporation.

According to El Tipógrafo in 2021, the former mayor of San Fernando Luis Berwart was charged along with Pedro Pablo Cruz, Leonidas Quiroga and Carlos Bozzo, for a series of frauds through the Municipal Corporation Cormusaf, which included the creation of fictitious companies, payments for non-existent services, overpricing and others, for about $3 billion.

Pedro Sabat (RN), ex-mayor of Ñuñoa: convicted on 25 May as the author of two crimes of incompatible negotiation in a sentence read out by the Third Oral Criminal Court of Santiago.

Raúl Torrealba (RN), ex-mayor of Vitacura: he was formalised and the Public Prosecutor’s Office, for the first time, detailed in a public hearing seven mechanisms that he led over a decade to defraud the Treasury of more than $766 million.

Virginia Reginato (UDI), former mayor of Viña del Mar: a forensic audit of the financial statements of the Municipality of Viña del Mar, from June 2016 to June 2021, revealed millions of irregularities in her administration, revealing 63 observations corresponding to the payment of unjustified overtime, loss of more than a thousand goods from the inventory and excessive payments for leases, among other anomalies, which generated “losses” for the municipality of more than 100 billion pesos, winning the golden seagull of corruption.

These cases and an insufferable list of municipal corruption mean that today 51% of them are being audited for possible crimes by the Comptroller General of the Republic.
Also today, the “new” government is being shaken by the revelations of influence peddling and its millionaire allocations to foundations of its political sector (case in progress).

This official history of the crimes of this “Chilean political class” is breathtaking. If the ineffable shapers of public opinion are still asking why people do not believe in this democracy, and denounce that more than half of the population does not participate, raising their voices, blaming citizens for lack of civility; such opinionology is a joke in bad taste or outright bad faith.

A separate chapter in this review of half a century is the creativity of the press in inventing euphemisms to soften criminal acts: malpractices, illegal campaign financing, money collectors, breaches of probity, oral consultancies, charitable donations, undue advantages, in good Chilean: choreo, plain and simple!

So, as long as these little figures do not pay with effective imprisonment, as long as they are not legally forbidden to run for election again and as long as the parties, with repeated cases, are not applied the law of illicit association (the law says that any association whose purpose is the perpetration of crimes, as well as that which after its formation is destined to its commission, is considered illicit, being a crime) all verbiage, from the executive and the congress, remains a joke to the Chilean men and women and Chileans.

This dark situation can only find a way out in the organisation of the good people at the social base, those who work on themselves to build their internal coherence, their rejection of violence and anti-values, and simultaneously carry on their permanent struggle to ensure that corrupt politics does not have an assured future.

Collaborators: M. Angélica Alvear Montecinos; Sandra Arriola Oporto; Ricardo Lisboa Henríquez; Guillermo Garcés Parada and César Anguita Sanhueza. Public Opinion Commission