Anonymous musician heads to the front lines. The majority of the front lines are personned by youth. Photo: Langelle Photography
Overwhelming Majority votes to throw out Pinochet-era Constitution one year after Peoples’ Uprising demands real change
Recognizing the historic achievements of our partner organizations in Chile, and inspired by our work on the ground in Chile last November which documented and supported the Peoples’ Uprising there, Global Justice Ecology Project and Biofuelwatch share this public statement and ongoing call to action to create the deep structural change required to respond to intensifying environmental and human rights crises in Chile.
The triumph of the October 25 plebiscite vote in Chile to reject the military constitution of the Pinochet dictatorship is an ethical and political victory for social movements. Over the space of several decades, we have had the honor to work in solidarity with partners in Chile confronting the extractivist industry as well as systemic human rights and ecological abuses, and we are compelled to share their celebration and also amplify their determination to achieve real change.
“What we hear our partners saying is that the opportunity to pursue a new Constitution in Chile is simply the opening of a door– by a spontaneous, organic and leaderless uprising, reinforced by decades of political organizing in the face of daunting repression,” said Gary Hughes of Biofuelwatch.
Hughes emphasized that “the need for the global community to support the mobilization for justice in Chile must continue to grow following this historic vote. This is not the end, but the beginning.”
“While we are inspired by the clear signal for change that was sent by nearly 80% of the vote affirming the need for a new Constitution,” said Anne Petermann, Executive Director with Global Justice Ecology Project, “we are also deeply aware of the ongoing risks and dangers to environmental defenders and indigenous community leaders in the Mapuche territory of Wallmapu. These territories continue to be the front lines for militarization, criminalization, imprisonment and police violence designed to put down the growing demands and actions by Mapuche people for a return of their traditional territories.”
“We stand in solidarity with the Mapuche peoples and the social movements in Chile in their drive to attain self-determination and to overturn the devastation wrought by the Neoliberal economy implemented under Pinochet,” concluded Petermann.
GJEP and BFW continue to work in solidarity to support our partners in Chile that are exposing the environmental, social and cultural devastation of projects such as the expansion of industrial timber plantations by Arauco and CMPC that trample the lands, rights and well-being of local communities.