February 5, 2021 Print

Chile is facing one of its most important challenges since the return to democracy. A nationwide referendum in 2020 revealed a popular vote in favor of a wholesale institutional overhaul. So, a Constitutional Convention was summoned for April 2021, to agree, propose and draft an entirely new Charter for the country.

To this end, in the Spring of last year, Marcela Cubillos, Constanza Hube, and Natalia González (all three lawyers by training) convened academics, professionals, and experts in areas such as law, political science, economics, and public policy—all of whom share the principles of liberal democracy—to collaborate and reflect on numerous topics that are part of Chile’s Magna Carta.

As a result of this “reflective” effort, Libertad y Desarrollo unveiled an online proposal on January 21 that encourages open citizen participation. The purpose of www.concontroldecambios.cl is that its contents can be consulted and commented on, 24/7, while new approaches can also be added, and will be considered in a final version of this proposal.

As of January 26, 2021, over 50 proposals had been received. 

This bold initiative comes on the heels of an important publication unveiled by the institute, Reflexiones sobre Cuestiones Constitucionales (Reflections on Constitutional Issues), co-authored by Hernán Büchi, co-founder of Libertad y Desarrollo and a key figure in Chile’s market-based economic transformations, and Axel Kaiser, a widely-read public intellectual throughout Latin America, who has recently joined Atlas Network’s Center for Latin America as Senior Fellow. This influential and highly publicized 62-page tract argues that caution is of the essence to avoid the “constructivist trap” to mold society in accordance with a preconceived design of social interaction. The authors suggest that Chile’s population will have the last word: "to live in a country with freedom and political and economic good sense, or in one captured by the deceit of demagoguery, authoritarianism, and populism."

This choice makes Libertad y Desarrollo’s efforts to encourage citizen participation a key and relevant initiative on behalf of the continuance of liberal democracy and an open market economy in Chile.

Atlas Network supported this initiative with a grant