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Chile: A New Constitution ‘That Considers the Person at the Center’

Agreement ‘For Social Peace’

Twenty-eight days after the social outburst in Chile, parliamentarians of the Government party and the Opposition announced on Friday, November 15, a historic agreement, entitled “For Social Peace and the New Constitution,” to replace the Magna Carta that has governed Chile since 1981.

After reaching the Agreement, which has put an end to both the violent and the peaceful protests, President Sebastian Pinera gave the first instructions to support the writing of the draft laws that are necessary to realize the Pact.

“n and Out” Plebiscite

 The Chilean newspaper La Tercera reported that among the projects is a Constitutional Reform to make possible the realization of the “in and out” plebiscite. The plebiscite is scheduled for April of next year and whatever agreement is reached, by the body that will be created, will have to have the support of two-thirds of its members for its approval.

In addition, they must legislate to regulate the period of the campaign for the election of the delegates, who will form part of the Constitutional Convention. For the latter, the government stated, they will “seek to assimilate the norms that are applied in other elections: municipal, for governors and parliamentarians,” pointed out the national newspaper.

An article published on Monday, November 18, 2019, reported the destruction of green areas, damages to public and private areas, and to historical pieces, which the country has suffered over these days of protests, having as its principal venue the center of Santiago.

Specifically, the incendiary attack of the church of Veracruz of the Lastarria district, the profanation of the Shrine of Mary Help of Christians, run by the Salesians in the city of Talca, and other collateral effects that religious sites have suffered, as well as Universities and public buildings very recently.

The Person at the Center

 Luis Berrios, Secretary of the Social-Caritas Pastoral Vicariate of the Archbishopric of Santiago, said to Zenit that, in his opinion, the social pact “is a new Constitution that considers the person at the center” and  that ”guarantees social rights through which all persons can live with the dignity proper to us.”

In general, “the whole country” has been affected, said Berrios. “Some have been affected materially, as a result of physical damages and a great part of the population has been affected emotionally.”

In Santiago, the municipalities of Puente Alto, Maipu, Penalolen, Renca, and Quilicura have been very affected, as means of life, of locomotion, supply sources have been lost, and public infrastructure has been damaged. However, Berrios noted, “the greatest harm has been suffered by communities and families where there has been a loss of human lives.”

Aid Given by the Church

 “Specialized institutions of the Church have designed a methodology and a Web platform to encourage the establishment of Town Halls through which communities, parishes, and schools can elaborate their proposals, which will be systematized by a University and made available to the Authorities,” stated Berrios.

Through its Vicariate, the Church of Santiago has implemented strategies of immediate response and some of the early recovery, in face of the social and humanitarian crisis, such as five listening and orientation centers, in which affected people have been received whose rights were violated to help them with a possible complaint.

Individual and communal containment actions were also carried out for those that requested them and advice on labor rights, explained the Secretary of the Social Pastoral.

Food and Hygiene

 In the third place, direct aid has been given in terms of food and hygiene to families that have lost their source of income, many of them migrants that have arrived recently in the country.

Finally, the network of parish soup kitchens is being supported, both in terms of supply and volunteering, specified Berrios.

In the ambit of early recovery, actions of containment have been carried out, such as those of young volunteers working with boys and girls and adolescents through the so-called Urban Colonies, he explained.

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