Cristián Warnken: “People’s interest in a new Constitution has been diluted, there is boredom”

The professor and president of Amarillos, Cristián Warnken, believes that the experience of a new convention cannot be repeated, which is why he proposes a commission elected by Congress. And about violence and school dropouts, he says it is “a gigantic social time bomb.”

-Amarillos’ constitutional proposal raises a commission elected by parliament to draft the text. Isn’t it unfeasible given the reputation of Congress?

-The main danger is that people’s interest in the new Constitution has been diluting. There is a weariness, a weariness. People are not available for a new experiment that even resembles what the old convention was. And so we think that Chile has already experienced the experiment and it was a failure. The mechanism was quickly flawed and taken over by populism.

-But is the path that you propose realistic?

-We believe that the most viable, most realistic path, most appropriate to the state of mind of the citizenry, is a Constituent Council appointed by Congress.

-How many people?

We don’t have the number. It is something that can be discussed and talked about.

-Would they just be experts?

-Not necessarily, there may be experts and non-experts. What happens is that people were so saturated and so disappointed in the constituents that today they prefer the experts. The signal that the population is sending is that they want serious people, who do the trick well. And once that constituent council has a proposal, it will submit it to an exit plebiscite and it will be the people who will decide. The procedure we are considering is impeccable and entirely democratic.

-But Genaro Arriagada says that it goes against the result of the first plebiscite, in which the people established that they wanted a 100% elected constituent convention.

-And the people voted for a number of conventionalists that I am sure they would not vote for again in this second election. That people have chosen to do it via Convention is not, from a legal or legalistic point of view, something that forces all constitutional processes from now on to have to be done via convention. It was a vote for a moment. And also things happened later, there was the experience of the convention. Then the story progresses, things happen and also people change their minds. That does not remain as something rigid and definitive. And in fact, one could say in legalistic terms that what should operate today is the current Constitution. However, we want there to be a new Constitution, which we do not want to have a new convention.

Agency One – Karol Cariola

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-How do you evaluate the role of the ruling party?

–There is a proposal from the ruling party that somehow brings back, insists and is quite close to a model of the same convention that failed.

-Why has the conversation been blocked?

-In the conversations that are not made public, what is said on the left and on the right, is that in reality they do not want there to be an electoral process soon. Deep down, on the right there is fear that in the next conventional election the Republicans on the far right wing and the PDG, in a more populist version, will win a large number of representatives. So, therefore, there is a risk there for the moderate center-right. And on the left side, they just suffered a tremendous defeat. Therefore, it is very difficult for an electoral process so close to defeat to vary that result greatly. In other words, this election would not suit the left either.

So neither of the two major players wants to, but nevertheless says they want to. This is like the story The king is naked, but no one dares to say that he is naked.

-And how long would this process last?

-We are interested in the process being well done. Hopefully it won’t be postponed too long, because it runs the risk of throwing the issue under the rug as we have done many times. Throwing the constitution under the rug seems to be the dream of some sectors of a more extreme right and a more extreme left. The unconfessed dream.

And second, it has to be a sober process. I think the country is not for shows again. Hopefully austere too. The country is going through a crisis, we cannot be squandering too many resources. In other words, a sober process, well done, economical and democratic.

It is also important to validate representative democracy. The populist discourse has already penetrated Chile. The best antidote against a populism that we already have within us is to validate the most legitimate bodies of representative democracy such as the National Congress.

-As a teacher, what do you think of this controversy over the issue of the safe classroom law that the mayoress of Santiago would have asked that they not use it. How do you observe the growing violence in high schools?

-We are experiencing a catastrophe, especially in public education. Just as we have had a degradation of the vandalized public space in all our cities, such as Santiago, Valparaíso, we have a degradation of the schools that were once excellent and that were the illusion of many people, families that with great effort took their children there. It has been one of the saddest shows I have ever seen.

The anomie that we see in Chile, the loss of respect for all kinds of rules of coexistence, part in the National Institute. That was where the most horrible side of the outbreak was incubated, the most violent. And now it goes on and multiplies. It is dramatic that minority groups, radicals, anarchists and some lumpen, have kidnapped a significant part of the youth and their families.

The State must intervene clearly, forcefully and judiciously. If the highest authority stops complying with the laws we are in a pretty bad scenario. What happens in public education is a preview of what happens later in the rest of the country; It is almost the prelude to what is to come. I am sorry, I am afraid that all this catastrophe that we are seeing, which is added to what happened in the pandemic, to the fact that the children could not go to class, the setback that we have had in all the indices, we are going to have national level a disaster; I hope it doesn’t happen and that we can contain it, that this manifests itself in a very dramatic way in the coming years, that it becomes visible.

-There is also the issue of school desertion, which has increased a lot.

-The State has to act as quickly, urgently as possible to recover all those schoolchildren who have been lost along the way. And that they are safe candidates to be part of these violent radicalized groups, to be taken over by drug trafficking. It’s a gigantic social time bomb.

-Danien Mansuy has criticized the College of Teachers a lot, because it does not take charge of its responsibility on the subject.

-I am a teacher and I have the best opinion of the vast majority of Chilean teachers. The problem is when more ideological groups take control of the unions, in this case the College of Teachers. It seems to me that the background of what happened in the pandemic was unfortunate. I don’t think the majority of teachers agreed with the College’s approach. The directive should be very clear in condemning all kinds of violence, in defending its teachers from violence and in defending the students who are kidnapped by the most violent and radical groups. As a sign, the ambiguity of the College in the face of violence is very bad.

Cristián Warnken: “People’s interest in a new Constitution has been diluted, there is boredom”