We are mobilizing to Chile. Here's why.

The Progressive International lands in Santiago ahead of historic presidential elections.
A delegation from the Progressive International arrives to Chile this week as the country prepares for the first presidential elections since the start of the nation-wide protest movement in October 2019.

The delegation will meet with delegates of the Constitutional Convention, trade unionists, experts, activists from a range of perspectives, and local representatives from the bottom-up alcaldía constituyente process in Santiago to gather perspectives on the upcoming election and to monitor emerging threats to the country's democratic institutions.

The stakes of the election could not be higher — both for Chile and the region.

Back in 2019, millions of Chileans marched across the country to protest President Sebastián Piñera's regressive policies, aggressive privatization, and escalating inequality in Chile.

Against this repression, the people of Chile decided by national plebiscite to rewrite the country's Pinochet-era constitution — not by politicians, but by an elected Constitutional Convention with gender parity and reserved seats for Indigenous nations.

This month's presidential election therefore finds Chile at a crossroads. The era of Piñera was defined by 'neoliberal' consensus. Now, two dominant forces in Chile promise to break from this consensus — in opposite directions.

One is the direction set by the Constitutional Convention, and the proposals already taking shape there — rights to housing, health, education, abortion, social assistance, sexual education, gender equity, and even the rights that are due to Nature itself.

The other direction is set by José Antonio Kast and the political forces allied to his candidacy. Known as the 'Bolsonaro of Chile,' Kast's proposed plan of government would eliminate the Ministry of Women, introduce a Chilean ICE to detain migrants, pardon the torturers of the military dictatorship, and introduce new emergency powers to deploy security forces.

The stakes of Chile's presidential election therefore reach far beyond policy or personality. The future of the entire Constitutional Convention hangs in the balance — and with it, the prospect for democratic renewal across the broader region of Latin America.

The Progressive International arrives to Chile to defend the democratic process initiated by the historic plebiscite held one year ago — and in doing so, to honor those who stood up against the injustices of the Piñera regime and faced persecution, incarceration, and death for their courage.

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