At 10:30 a.m. on Sunday 30 October, Democracia para Chile held a press conference at the headquarters of MUMS (the Movement for Sexual Diversity) to give details of the rally, ‘Plebiscite Now! Let the Majority Decide’, which will take place on 3 November at 18:30 in the Plaza de Armas, the central square of the capital Santiago.
Attending the conference were Fernando Muñoz and Alejandro Osorio of MUMS, Luis Mariano Rendón of Acción Ecológica, Rosario Carvajal of the Asociación Chilena de Barrios y Zonas Patrimoniales, Patricia Pino of the Comité de Defensa de Matta Sur, Orieta Candia of the Asamblea Ciudadana por el Plebiscito and José Osorio of Vecinos por la Defensa del Barrio Yungay.
The participants stated that ‘following the occupation of the Senate on 20 October, members of parliament from a range of parties committed to presenting the citizen proposal for a Plebiscite with the utmost urgency. The proposal, developed by social and civil organisations, will be submitted on 3 November. At present there are 88 organisations supporting the proposal and we hope that more than a hundred will attend on the day.’
‘Chile survived for more than twenty years after the end of the dictatorship with its sovereignty straitened by a political class that chose to live with its back to the people, in a shameless marriage with financial overlords. With an electoral system that distorted the will of the people and constitutional bars that consolidated regulations put in place by the dictatorship, they caused millions to despair - millions who felt that their participation could change nothing. For greater security in that powerful position, they were anxious to strangle any media that might provide an alternative voice, and to finance press monopolies generously, with money from all Chileans. When all that failed, repression reappeared again as it has in other times, gradually imposing the silence of death.’
‘That lack of sovereignty for the people, that charade of democracy, meant that the abuse of power, the ruining of our natural environment as well as the exploitation of our local and regional heritage, a disregard for our indigenous peoples and levels of social and civil inequalities difficult to find in other parts of the world, could all take root. Meanwhile, those wielding political power were able to profit comfortably from public funds, piling up shocking privileges for themselves right up to the present.’
‘But the people have tired of this brutality. Today they are going out into the streets to demand respect. The occupation of the Senate should be an alarm call. Our citizens have understood that profound changes need to take place in Chile, and that that will only happen when a significant step has been taken: when the people rule, and governments and parliaments obey.
It is for all these reasons that today we invite citizens to take part in the protest, ‘Plebiscite Now! Let the Majority Decide’, which will take place this Thursday, 3 November at 18:30 in the Plaza de Armas. On that day, in an act of the people, we will hand our proposal to all those members of parliament who believe that the voice of a hundred social organisations represents the feeling of millions and Chilean men and women. We hope that this will restore sovereignty to the people with immediate effect, establishing the plebiscite as the tool with which Chilean men and women will resolve, directly and legitimately, the conflicts at the heart of the country, and begin to build in peace a New and Real Democracy for Chile.’
Translated by Ollie Brock