This is one of the unknowns in Sunday’s general election. The social rebellion, which had been brewing for so many years, had then drawn up a terrible indictment against the liberal orthodoxy inherited from the dictator Pinochet, who had made this country a laboratory. The economic model enshrining the free market and the disappearance of the State had even been written into the Constitution.
As a result of this systemic revolt, a convention was born in July with the aim of drafting a new fundamental text, in order to correct a yawning evil: social inequalities. This is also the main concern of Chileans, who demand a better redistribution of wealth and more progressive taxation, according to an OECD survey published on November 18. But nothing is written in advance. The possible qualifications in the second round of the presidential election of Gabriel Boric, left-wing deputy and figurehead of the student movement of 2011, and José Antonio Kast, nostalgic for Pinochétisme and representative of the extreme right, are an illustration of this.
Chilean society is rife with social and civic frustrations. The 2019 uprising crystallized aspirations for a plurinational state respectful of identities, gender equality and social justice. It has also tense a section of the population that has been fed to order and security. The formatting of conscience to which the bloodthirsty dictatorship has been engaged for more than three decades cannot be erased with a stroke.
Like Bolsonaro and others, Kast has established himself as a strong man able to protect what exists and tradition in the face of the demand for structural upheavals. He was able to play with the corruption scandals that splash the outgoing right-wing president, Sebastian Piñera, the fake news machine and the media delusions against the danger of “castro-communism” that Boric would embody. Chile moves in this chiaroscuro.