The Stream

Chile referendum: Can it bring true equality?

On Tuesday, October 6 at 19:30 GMT:
Chilean lawmakers are set to hold a referendum on October 25 on the adoption of a new constitution, after widespread demonstrations over social inequality rocked the country last year.

The vote, originally scheduled for April 2020, was postponed as a result of coronavirus. However, opposition activists say that was an excuse by the government to buy time and clean up towns and cities after widespread protests in 2019.

At least 30 people were killed and thousands detained in the 2019 demonstrations. A fraught negotiation followed, after which President Sebastian Pinera and protest leaders agreed that Chileans could vote on a new constitution – a principle demand of the opposition movement.

Chile is one of the wealthiest countries in Latin America. Many people, though, still suffer poor living conditions and sub-standard wages. Following the end of the Pinochet military dictatorship in the 1990s, Chileans were hopeful for economic prosperity but many did not see the benefits they were promised. “Privatised education, health care, and pension systems still disproportionately favour the wealthy,” according to a report by The Atlantic Council.

On this episode of The Stream, we’ll look ahead to the October 25 referendum and ask experts about whether it is enough to appease protesters’ demands and establish a more equal Chilean society.

On this episode of The Stream, we are joined by:
Alejandra Matus, @alejandramatus
Investigative journalist

Carlos Tromben, @tromben
Economist and journalist

Cecilia Ananías Soto, @AnaniasCeci
Journalist and civil rights activist