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Chile begins drafting a new constitution two years after the popular uprising

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Chile begins drafting a new constitution two years after the popular uprising

Chile’s Constituent Assembly begins today the drafting of the first article of the new Constitution, exactly on the second anniversary of the historic protests that shook the economic model and initiated the process of restructuring the country.

“With the same strength and the same conviction, today we are preparing to begin writing the content of Chile’s first multinational constitution,” Constituent Assembly Chair Elisa Loncón said on social media.

At 15:00 in Santiago (19:00 in Lisbon), discussion of the first article will begin. At the same time, more than 50 demonstrations are planned, most in the capital.

To avoid a repeat of the acts of vandalism that marked these violent clashes between police and protesters, the authorities recommended that traffickers close them before the meeting. More than 5,000 security agents were called in to contain the unrest.

October 2019 Protests

It was on October 18, 2019, when a group of students began to protest the rise in metro fares, unaware that the move would lead to a giant popular uprising movement against inequality, Chile’s greatest social calamity.

With the active participation of the middle class, the mega-protests caused social frustration and highlighted the depletion of the country’s economic system.

The consequence of this explosive growth was a referendum in October 2020, which decided whether a new constitution would be adopted.

“The Chileans were unhappy not because the country was on the wrong track, but because they did not feel included in their own country. Chile has grown strongly, but with high levels of inequality. The emerging middle class did not want to end the party, but to be nonetheless, the same elite that was committed to fighting poverty was unwilling to share the privileges. The protests have distorted this position by force, “Chilean political scientist Patricio Navia of the Diego Portales University in Chile and New York University, USA, explained to Luce.

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popular statement

Two years later, on October 18, 2021, MPs will begin to shape the main popular demand: the end of the current neoliberal Constitution of 1980, imposed by the dictator Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), which was considered a sore spot of social inequality.

In parallel with the writing of the first article, the Chamber of Deputies, with the majority of the opposition, is starting the process of dismissing President Sebastian Piñera, based on the details revealed during the investigation of the Pandora Papers.

In fact, this is the second dismissal process that Piñera has faced since overcoming charges in November 2019 of violent crackdown on protests that killed 29 people and injured more than 3,000, as well as several allegations of human rights violations.

In those days, the government imposed a curfew and the military returned to repression, which has not been the case in Chile since the Pinochet dictatorship.

The work of the Constituent Assembly, elected in May, began on 4 July, but has so far been limited to the definition of the rules.

In May, Chileans elected a majority of left and center-left MPs, marking the end of Chile’s neoliberal experience unique to the region.

More democratic participation period

Starting today, Chile must go through a period of the most democratic and active participation in its history, along with a period of uncertainty that threatens the country’s economic stability.

“Chileans want change, but they no longer identify with any leadership or recognize traditional parties as agents of change. There is no one who benefits from the protests. This is an orphaned, integral process of a political project, ”political analyst Carlos told Lusa. Melendez from the University of Chile Diego Portales.

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The Constituent Assembly will have nine months (with the possibility of extension for another three) to develop a new social pact between the state and citizens. Two months later, Chileans will return to the polls for a referendum in which they will accept or reject a new constitution. Thus, Chile’s new birth certificate will only be released in the second half of 2022.

“Large demonstrations have led to this constitutional process. It was the politicization of inequality. However, the new constitution does not guarantee that inequality will be reduced, ”says Melendez.

In parallel with the work on the new Constitution, the country is running for the next general elections on 21 November. The constituent assembly must influence the campaign, and the elections, in turn, must influence the assembly.

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Even betting on Pivetta’s return to the political scene, Geller says he doesn’t discuss future opponents.

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Even betting on Pivetta's return to the political scene, Geller says he doesn't discuss future opponents.

(Photo: Playback/Internet)

Although Deputy Governor Otaviano Pivetta (no party) has repeatedly stated that he will not run in this year’s elections and under any electoral scenarios, as he returned to do double duty with Governor Mauro Mendez (DEM) as his deputy or even in speculation about a possible dispute for the Senate of the Republic, some preliminary candidates still include him in this political environment.

As did federal deputy Neri Geller (PP), who commented last Wednesday (19) in an interview with Rádio CBN Cuiabá about this possibility, perhaps pointing to a political turn or, who knows, to a personal request from the governor, Pivetta’s longtime friend. Thus, placing him as a possible opponent in a dispute in the Senate. Theoretically, this could create an “obstacle” to his provisional candidacy as Geller seeks a seat in the upper house of Congress.

Neri, who has already secured MDB’s support in the Senate race, is now looking to merge his name with the Mendez group. According to the progressive federal deputy, opponents or future compositions are not chosen in pre-election disputes, but work is only on fixing the name itself.

“I don’t discuss the possibility of opponents or squad. Today I have good relations with three parties: mine, the PP, as well as the SDP and the MBR. It is clear that Pivetta can reverse his decision not to participate in the elections and run for office in advance. But this does not affect how I act, work – respectfully, even with my opponents. However, it won’t affect me in any way. I am calm and very well positioned from an electoral point of view and, mainly, from the point of view of the support base that I am creating,” the deputy said.

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Neri also claimed that his candidacy was launched in an arc of alliances supported by former governor and former agriculture minister Blairo Maggi (PP), federal deputy Carlos Bezerra (MDB) and senator Carlos Favaro (PSD).

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LGBT phobia in politics may increase in 2022 – DW – 01/23/2022

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LGBT phobia in politics may increase in 2022 - DW - 01/23/2022

An atmosphere of hostility, attacks and threats against openly gay or LGBTQI+ politicians has been evident in several recent episodes within Brazilian political institutions, although for the average voter, a candidate’s sexual preference or gender identity has less and less influence on voting at the ballot box. – at least if we consider the major urban centers of the country.

LGBTQI+ politicians are preferred targets for the far right, and due to the polarized climate of this year’s Brazilian presidential election, many of them already fear that the agenda of customs and gender ideology will be a topic raised in the National Congress by allies of Jair Bolsonaro. , which would serve as a weapon against the centre-left and pollute the pre-election debate.

The biggest rejection of Bolsonaro, according to a Datafolha Institute survey last December, concerns homosexuals and bisexuals: 83% would not vote for the incumbent under any circumstances.

Due to the critical economic situation in the country, Bolsonaro has given way among low-income evangelical voters to former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and must use this conservative debate to try to contain them.

“Bolsonaro is trying to scare this evangelical public with strange things, like saying that “your child can become a woman at the age of 7.” Today there is much more respect for the LGBTQ cause among non-ideological evangelicals, but it is clear that they are resisting this topic,” explains Renato Dorgan, specialist in political-electoral marketing, qualitative and quantitative research and co-owner of the Instituto Travessia-Estratégia e Marketing.

Dorgan believes that homosexuality in politics has gradually ceased to be a big taboo, especially after 2015, 2016, which he observes in a qualitative study he conducts with Brazilian voters. According to recent polls, more than half of the population approves of same-sex unions.

“So much so that now Eduardo Leite (governor of Rio Grande do Sul) has declared himself a homosexual, although he is a preliminary presidential candidate,” the specialist noted. Leyte lost the PSDB primary to Sao Paulo Gov. Joao Doria, but did not hesitate to use the sexual option in mid-2021 when he sought accreditation as a candidate for President of the Republic.

Shortly after the announcement of the governor of Rio Grande do Sul, a poll conducted by the Instituto Paraná Pesquisas in July 2021 showed that 75.9% of Brazilians would not change their vote if the presidential candidate was gay: 13.7% admitted, that willing to vote for a candidate decreases, while up to 5.8% increases. The survey was conducted in the municipalities of 27 subjects of the Federation with an error of 2 percentage points. The poll showed that the greatest resistance to a homosexual candidate comes from men over 60 living in the south of the country.

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Far-right uses homophobia as voting strategy, says Gene Willis

“The current government was elected because of homophobia,” former federal MP Jean Willis, who recently joined PT, told DW Brasil. Gay, Willis had direct clashes with Bolsonaro while both were MPs and came to spit in the face of the incumbent when he praised tormentor Brillante Ustra by voting to impeach Dilma Rousseff in 2016. The journalist and writer gave him a mandate for being subjected to death threats and numerous attacks. Willis advocates that “a section of the far right should use homophobia to advance elections,” a topic he has covered in recent books and articles.

He explains that he relinquished his mandate because he was and remains the target of death threats, including from members of his family, in addition to a “heavy and well-funded campaign of slander and assassination” of his reputation through “dirty lies”.

“It was obvious to me that after the cowardly and cruel murder of Mariel Franco, the threats would not be limited to threats. It was just as clear to me – but not to the left in general, and even more so to my old party, unfortunately, despite the consistent denunciations that I made, that this attack was not only on the person or on the person of Jean Willis. It was a brutal attack on everything I represented and represent,” he says.

The fact that he is an openly gay politician and activist, Willis adds, has made him “an easy catalyst for hatred and resentment in a historically homophobic and racist society” along the same lines as trying to destroy Lula’s image.

“Homophobic hostility was more pronounced on the part of heterosexual parliamentarians, especially neo-Pentecostal evangelicals and/or those associated with the security forces. This does not mean that there were no homophobic sentiments on the part of some left-wing parliamentarians and on the part of women on the right,” he said.

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Despite pre-election marketing polls, Willis insists that Brazilians will not elect a gay president today and that those in power now want to prevent this from happening in the future.

“The current government was elected because of homophobia,” says former federal MP Gene Willis.Photo: DW/C. Neher

For a gay senator, “this confrontation takes guts.”

Some scenes were notable: in the Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry into the Pandemic (CPI da Covid), in the Senate, in which capixaba senator Fabiano Contarato, at the time associated with the Network, spoke about his sexual choices and his family. Married, he and his partner have adopted two children.

“Brazil must begin to reverse centuries of structural politics based on sexism, racism and LGBT phobia. I came into politics believing that it takes courage to stand up to this.”

Contarato, now associated with PT and a possible candidate for the Espirito Santo government acronym, emphasizes that all of the country’s recent gains by the LGBTQIA+ community have been the result of judicial decisions, not political ones.

“The right to adopt is without a doubt one of the most important. It guarantees the basic right of homoaffective families and allows them to form on an equal footing with others. However, the fact that this is not yet a registered right in Brazilian law creates uncertainty about a possible annulment.”

Congress, according to the senator, ignores the debate about the protection and rights of LGBTQI +. “I am the first openly gay senator and I hope to have opened the doors to others in the near future. I humbly hope that our mandate will serve as an inspiration to other gays, lesbians, transgenders and transvestites. …everyone, even if we have to fight a lot harder to get there.”

He cites the adoption of stiffer sentences for those who commit crimes motivated by discrimination or prejudice based on race, color, ethnicity, religion, national origin or sexual orientation as successful benchmarks. “The House also passed Bill 2353/2021 of my own authorship, which prohibits discrimination against blood donors based on sexual orientation.”

Brazil |  Senate investigation into the pandemic
“I am the first openly gay senator and I hope to open the doors to others in the near future,” Contarato says.Photo: Leopoldo Silva/Agência Senado

The resistance is higher in the chamber

Already in the House, says Federal MP David Miranda (Psol-RJ), the deputy who accepted the mandate for Wyllys’ vacancy, LGBTQI+ programs are making little headway, especially due to resistance from the evangelical, armed and conservative wing of agribusiness. . According to him, there are about 40 projects in the Chamber that are of interest to this population, 50% with a more progressive approach and 50% with a biased and derogatory look.

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“This agenda is not moving, and if it is brought to plenary session, it will paralyze Congress. Both progressive and conservative MPs are trying to use these agendas to advance themselves. It will definitely happen this year.” Miranda predicts there will be a big debate around a project defining that public toilets are for men and women, thus avoiding embarrassment for Miranda’s transgender people.

The MP is married to journalist Glenn Greenwald, who posted on The Intercept Brasil website messages from former judge Sergio Moro with prosecutors involved in Operation Lava-Jato. The Jato Vase, as the case became known in Brazil, led to the demoralization of Lava-Jato and culminated in the decision of the Federal Supreme Court on Moro’s suspicion of trying Lulu.

Vase Jato, according to the deputy, has made him a specific target for the extreme right. “We received death threats, me, my husband, my children, my mother. We were attacked at all levels. They made fake news with our names, our lives. a welcoming field with great support,” he said.

David Miranda walks daily accompanied by bodyguards. He says he has not received permission from the President of the Chamber, commanded by Bolsonaro MP Artur Lira (PP-AL), to rely on the security of the Legislative Police. “The Chamber stopped giving me security, although I have a positive opinion from the parliamentary commission in Geneva. I pay with my money, I don’t complain. protection in the state of Rio.

DW Brasil asked the President of the Chamber for information on the number of parliamentarians under the protection of the Legislative Police, as they are threatened, and questioned the Miranda case. “For security reasons, information about the escort of parliamentarians is confidential,” the press service of the chamber said by e-mail.

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