Tribune. Against all odds, after thirty years of apathy, the Chilean people woke up. For many people this is a shock, so much Chilean society had seemed so far to comply without making waves to the rules of economic liberalism and those of a representative democracy of notables. The apathy of the Chilean people had an explanation: a kind of pact of silence to avoid reopening the wounds of a military dictatorship that reigned in Chile from 1973 to 1989. But, over time, the cost of this transition "Pact" was becoming increasingly exorbitant for Chilean society: a public education in tatters, an inaccessible health system, hungry retirement pensions and, the straw that broke the camel's back, an increasingly expensive public transport .
More than a million people on the streets: is it to claim only the decline of the Santiago Metro ticket? Of course not: this social movement demands to put back all the unfinished legacy of the military dictatorship, in the economic, political and even legal fields. Chile has an appointment with its own story.
A Constitution of dictatorial origin
From the point of view of France, we would be tempted to scrutinize the Chilean events with a certain detachment, thinking that it is their own history. However, the Chilean spring can and should have a resonance in France and in many other European countries. What do these Chileans and Chileans teach us? They simply teach us that structures, be they economic, military or legal, must be made for individuals and not for individuals. This is why one of the main demands of the protesters is that of adopting a new Constitution. Not an amendment of the Constitution, but a whole new Constitution.
The current Chilean Constitution is the one adopted by Augusto Pinochet in 1980. Admittedly, it was purged of its main authoritarian enclaves in 1989 and 2005, but it remains marked by this dictatorial origin. On the one hand, it devotes exceptionally liberticidal powers of exception, which we have seen at work these days, which give the army excessive discretionary power in the light of international democratic standards (areas placed directly under the control of the army, curfew, strong limitations of freedom of movement). On the other hand, it lays the foundation for a neoliberal economy, giving greater protection to economic rights, and thus legally preventing the implementation of any economic reform. By not changing the Constitution after the dictatorship, Chile thought it could make a smooth transition.