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2020 Chilean National Plebiscite

Cindy Arnson

Analysis from Latin America Program Director, Dr. Cynthia Arnson

The Chilean Plebiscite and What It Means Cover
Protests in Santiago, Chile, 2019.

"The overwhelming vote in favor of a new Constitution shows the deep thirst for change in Chilean society.  The vote also clearly shows the stratification of Chilean society along class lines, with people in the wealthy suburbs of Santiago firmly against the plebiscite.  But there are lots of unanswered questions about the road ahead.  The new Colombian Constitution of 1991 expanded democratic rights and participation without undermining the fundamentals of representative democracy. 

The constitutional reforms in Venezuela and Bolivia undermined checks and balances.  How will a new Chilean constitution define new economic and social rights, which are only attainable if the funding resources are there?  The channeling of last year's social explosion into a process for political change is a major accomplishment.  Meeting demands to overcome inequality through constitutional procedures will be a huge, but not insurmountable challenge."

About the Author

Cindy Arnson

Cynthia J. Arnson

Director, Latin American Program
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Latin American Program

The Wilson Center’s prestigious Latin American Program provides non-partisan expertise to a broad community of decision makers in the United States and Latin America on critical policy issues facing the Hemisphere. The Program provides insightful and actionable research for policymakers, private sector leaders, journalists, and public intellectuals in the United States and Latin America. To bridge the gap between scholarship and policy action, it fosters new inquiry, sponsors high-level public and private meetings among multiple stakeholders, and explores policy options to improve outcomes for citizens throughout the Americas. Drawing on the Wilson Center’s strength as the nation’s key non-partisan forum, the Program serves as a trusted source of analysis and a vital point of contact between the worlds of scholarship and action.  Read more