Name? Gabriel Boric
Westphalian identity? Chilean
Why is he in the news? Chilean president Gabriel Boric received the long-awaited final draft of the new Chilean constitution yesterday. It has been three years since the protests that upended the Chilean political establishment and delivered a left-wing activist to La Moneda, the presidential palace, so the final proposal is a big deal. Boric receiving it, himself representing a tide of political reform, is a big deal, too.
Why do we care? Well, Chile’s constitution has not changed since Augusto Pinochet was in power (1973-1990), which means that the constitution in Chile has not changed since they had a literal dictatorship. Its most intense critics, like Boric, accused it of being an undemocratic constitution that gave unbridled power to the private sector. Furthermore, consigning specific economic policies into the constitution meant that political opinion would seldom see itself translated into law, even through elections.
Why should you care? Take your pick: the new constitution mandates that every governing body in Chile have gender parity, 50% women and 50% men. This could be the most gender equal government in history. In other news, this constitution would allow Boric to bring his political and economic goals to fruition. Some of his radical ideas include government-led pensions, education, healthcare and housing…you should care 9/10 deep democratic reform.
Who else cares? Milton Friedman is rolling in his grave. His disciples, the Chicago Boys, brought the most important economic revolution in Chile to date. Economic growth of the 80s and 90s in Chile was called a “Friedman Miracle”, whose principles of economic liberalisation, privatisation, and state-owned companies were enshrined in the constitution. To Boric and the Latin American left, these principles have exacerbated inequalities and become outdated.
Any further comments? While the US just rolled back its protection of abortion, Chile’s new constitution just enshrined the right to interrupt pregnancies – terms pending.