Chile: Referendum Win Sets the Country on a New Path

The overwhelming vote by the people of Chile to replace the country’s constitution has set the country on a path towards shared prosperity, ending decades of Pinochet-era policies enshrined in the current constitution.

A landslide 78% of people voted for the establishment of a popularly elected body to draw up a new constitution for adoption in 2022. Under the Pinochet constitution, heavily influenced by the discredited ‘Chicago Boys’ economists, vital services such as health, education, pensions and even water were privatised.

Sharan Burrow, ITUC General Secretary, said: “This is the start of a new era for Chile, opening the way for a new social contract that puts the economy at the service of the people, with genuine democratic governance and accountability. We congratulate our trade union sisters and brothers in the CUT Chile and their allies for their tireless and fearless commitment to end the dark clouds of dictatorship after almost half a century of subjugation of basic rights and standards.”

The Chilean President, Sebastián Piñera, was forced to agree to the plebiscite by a coalition of trade unions and other groups, representing indigenous people, women, youth people and others during mass protests last November.

The ‘Chicago Boys’ economists were installed into positions of power by Pinochet and other South American right-wing dictators during last century, shaping economies in the vision of Milton Friedman and the Chicago school of economics and putting almost the entire continent at the service of US multinational companies.

“The whole of the Americas, and the world at large, can celebrate this triumph of democracy, and the international trade union movement will support our Chilean colleagues as they seek to build an economy and society that serves the people. At the same time, the brutal economic policies that have dominated economic life in Chile are still alive in other places, and the trade union movement is dedicated to defeating them everywhere,” said Sharan Burrow.