"International solidarity once failed the people of Chile. It must not fail today."

Parliamentarians and public figures from over 15 countries unite in defense of Chilean democracy ahead of 19 December elections.
We write to express our grave concern ahead of Chile's presidential election on 19 December.

For the first time since Chile's transition to democracy in 1990, a leading presidential candidate — José Antonio Kast — has not only endorsed the legacy of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, but also put forward a policy program to revive it. Foreign governments played a sordid role in financing, facilitating, and legitimating Pinochet's rise and rule. We, parliamentarians and public figures from around the world, will not repeat their mistake.

José Antonio Kast has time and again defended the military dictatorship and the violent coup that brought it to power in 1973. "I thank them for giving us freedom," Kast has said. During the 2017 presidential campaign, he said, "In the military government, they did many things for the people's human rights," flatly denying the horrors perpetrated against thousands of Chileans. Kast makes no secret of his affinity for Pinochet. "If Pinochet were alive, he would have voted for me," Kast has said.

Not only does Kast defend pinochetismo; he also promises to restore its legacy in government. Kast's proposed plan of government would eliminate the Ministry of Women and prohibit abortion; introduce a Chilean ICE to detain migrants and deploy security forces to hunt down political dissenters; withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council and pardon the torturers of the military dictatorship; and introduce new presidential emergency powers to deploy security forces. This same program denies climate change, "redefines" the status of Indigenous peoples and terminate their internationally-recognized rights to prior consultation, and aggressively privatizes Chilean natural resources.

Elected officials from Kast's Republican Party have already provided some clues as to what his governance would mean: an extraordinary threat to women, migrants, and Indigenous nations. Newly elected deputy Johannes Kaiser recently wondered if women's right to vote "was a good idea." To quote him in full: "Women stop going to the park because they are afraid of immigrants who might rape them, but they keep voting for the same parties that are bringing those people in, and you really wonder if [women's] right to vote was a good idea," he said.

For decades, the Chilean people struggled to bury the legacy of pinochetismo in their country. Thousands lost their lives during the dictatorship, and millions more mobilized to overthrow Pinochet and restore dignity to the country. Three decades later, in the protest movement that began in October 2019, the people of Chile once again rose up in defense of popular sovereignty, winning the right to a Constitutional Convention — a process that José Antonio Kast has opposed, decried, and promised to undermine.

International solidarity failed the people of Pinochet's Chile. It must not fail Chileans today. We write now in defense of Chilean democracy, in defense of the overwhelming apruebo vote to write a new constitution, and in defense of the women, Indigenous nations, migrants, and democratic principles that Kast's victory could once again betray.


Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, Spain 

Rashida Tlaib, Member of the House of Representatives, United States of America 

Yanis Varoufakis, Member of the Hellenic Parliament, Greece 

Celso Amorim, former Minister of Foreign Relations, Brazil 

Ernesto Samper, former President, Colombia 

Aloizio Mercadante, former Minister of Education, Brazil 

Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom 

Noam Chomsky, Linguist and Activist, United States of America 

Naomi Klein, Author, Canada 

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Member of the European Parliament, France 

Christian Rodriguez, Head of International Relations for La France Insoumise, France 

Andrés Arauz, Economist and former Presidential Candidate, Ecuador 

Gerardo Pisarello, Member of the 13th Congress of Deputies, Spain 

John Hendy QC, Member of the House of Lords, United Kingdom 

Graham Morris, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom 

Zarah Sultana, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom 

Idoia Villanueva, Member of European Parliament, Spain 

Richard Burgon, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom 

Sam Tarry, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom

Democratic Socialists of America, International Committee, United States of America 

Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament, Canada 

Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament, Canada 

Matthew Green, Member of Parliament, Canada 

Alexandre Boulerice - Rosemont-- La Petite-Patrie, Canada 

Sevim Dagdalen, Member of Bundestag, Germany 

Zaklin Nastic, Member of Bundestag, Germany 

Andrej Hunko, Member of Bundestag, Germany 

Ali Al-Dailami, Member of Bundestag, Germany 

Leila Chaibi, Member of European Parliament, France 

Slavoj Zizek, Author and Philosopher, Slovenia 

Nicolas Jaar, Artist, United States of America 

Avi Lewis, Author and Activist, Canada 

Vijay Prashad, Author and Activist, India 

Antón Gómez-Reino, Vice President of the Foreign Affairs Commission, Spain 

Lucía Muñoz Dalda, Member of the 13th Congress of Deputies, Spain 

Alicia Castro, former Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Argentina 

Crystal Warner, National Executive Vice-President, Canada Employment and Immigration Union, Canada 

Scott Ludlam, former Senator, Australia 

Ammar Jan, Scholar and Activist, Pakistan 

Dr. Yara Hawari, Scholar and Activist, Palestine 

Ahdaf Soueif, Author and Activist, Egypt 

Srećko Horvat, Philosopher and Author, Croatia

Photo: Susana Hidalgo, Twitter

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