The director of elDiario.es, Ignacio Escolar, moderates this Wednesday, June 30, the meeting ‘How does the change happen? The street revolt in Latin America. From protest to proposal ‘, the fourth debate within the cycle’ Chile’s choice ‘, organized by Oxfam and Fundación Avina. The conversation, which can be followed live through this page starting at 17.00 hours in Spain or prior free registration at this link, continues with the cycle that aims to contribute new points of view and favor dialogue in the constituent process that Chile is experiencing.
The meeting will be attended by the director of incidence of the Salvadoran Ecological Unit (UNES), Luis Gonzalez; the political scientist and councilor of Cali Ana Erazo; the executive co-director of the NGO Tremors Alexander Lanz, activist and defender of human rights; the sociologist Omar Coronel; and the Chilean journalist and politician Beatriz Sanchez, former presidential candidate and elected member of the Constituent Assembly. Moderated by Ignacio Escolar, the conversation will focus on understanding why the new forms of protest connect more and push towards real changes and on knowing the spaces for interaction in this new context in the direction of political, economic and social change.
Latin America is historically associated with social protest from the street. If in the past this protest was led mainly by institutionalized organizations, now the street responds to mostly urban and youth social movements in which different themes intersect in the face of a frontal rejection of the status quo. The protest extends to all regions of the countries, but it is in urban areas where the greatest disputes are concentrated between the reality of everyday life and the hopes for a better future.
In 2019 the protest erupted abruptly in the world and in Latin America in particular, in what became known as the ‘rebellion against the elites’. Protests that were transversal in nature, lasted longer and ended up becoming social upheavals that opened up new forms of politics. Not only in Chile, but also in Peru, Haiti, Guatemala, Ecuador, Colombia, etc. Now again the protest stopped by the pandemic reappears in Colombia and it is possible that it will do so in other countries of the region. In this process of agitation of the status quo, social movements are the central actor to understand these processes.
Politics and the social contract are increasingly incorporating messages and policies that were once dismissed as far-fetched. There are also new political proposals that openly advocate a change in the rules of the game. However, these dynamics also coexist with a withdrawal of freedoms and an increase in the repression of protest, political and social activism, and independent journalism in most countries.
The case of Chile shows the region that there are opportunities for alternatives to make their way from the street to the institutional framework. There are risks and elements that will surely hinder consensus in some of the existing processes in the country. However, the protest caught on with citizens who are now enjoying the opportunity to write a proposal for a new social contract to change the course of the country with new pillars.