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November 21: a final push to secure the liberation of Chile

A fortnight before the election, Hugo Guzman speaks to KAROL CARIOLA, a Communist Party activist in the left's presidential candidate’s campaign team and a member of the chamber of deputies

“ALL of us,” says Karol Cariola, “who are convinced that Chile requires a deep, structural and real change, have to work hard so that on November 21 we can secure an important victory. [Left-wing presidential candidate] Gabriel Boric, who is isolating as a result of a positive Covid test, will continue to be contacted daily on campaign matters.

“When, as now, Boric cannot be physically present, all of us who are supporting this candidacy should assume the role of his ambassadors in each of the electoral districts, at every door we knock on, in every town square, in every metro station, on every corner, at every fair, in order to be able to explain to the people our programme of profound transformations.”

Cariola dismisses talk of the support for Boric stagnating or no longer rising. “It has been growing progressively. He won a primary, he has been leading the polls and still has a lot of electoral growth ahead of him, she reiterates.”

Boric is leading the presidential race and it is highly probable that he will win — do you expect him to be the target of harsh attacks?

“He has been the target of attacks from other presidential candidates for several weeks. It is clear that all the candidates see him as their main competitor because of the solidity of his proposals and the integrity he represents.

“In the remaining 15 days we must explain that this is the only presidential programme that proposes a structural and profound change in the country, that proposes to establish the right to health as a universal right, a single national health system, not one for the rich and another for the poor, a system of care for people with disabilities, the elderly and the sick, an end to the thousands of debts that affect hundreds of thousands of families.”

“We have to explain that voting for Boric means achieving more justice, more equality, having access to basic rights, that is what we need to go out and transmit with strength and conviction.

“We believe that this project very honestly spells out what we represent, what we are — and what we want to be in a future government.”

Aside from a president, voters will be electing 27 of 50 members of the Senate to serve an eight-year term, all the 155 members of the Chamber of Deputies to serve a four-year term and 302 members of the regional boards to serve a three-year term.

“We need a Parliament that intends to support these transformations,” says Cariola, “And make this government programme its own. We are calling on people to vote for the left coalition/Apruebo Dignidad candidates.

“Mobilisation against abstentionism is essential as the more people stay at home, the more possibilities the conservative, backward sectors of Chilean politics have of governing. Right-wing candidate Jose Antonio Kast has already suggested the abolition of the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality and has been attacking the abortion law and provisions.

“The Communist Party has just nine deputies, but we have still been able to make an important contribution in the legislative arena.

“We are the authors of bills such as the 40-hour working week, the [proposed steep increase in tax on mining copper and lithium], that sex without consent is rape, the tax on the super-rich, the Gabriela Law on the protection of women and that femicide should be classified as a hate crime — and many other things.

President of the Communist Party Guillermo Teillier and former Minister for Women Claudia Pascual are both standing for the Senate in the metropolitan area and their party comrade Daniel Nunez is standing in the Coquimbo Region.

Cariola is optimistic: “We have seen great support from the community, I have personally experienced a lot of affection from my electorate in Independencia and Recoleta districts. We have been working with them for some time now defending their interests, their needs and discussing not only national politics, but also local, community issues.

“We have worked, for example, for the recovery of the Clinical Hospital of the University of Chile for the public health network, to establish concrete measures to improve housing, we are working to declare the commune of Independencia as an asbestos-free area, and we have women’s coordinators in each of the districts organising solidarity networks.

“We are reaping what we have sown during all these years of work.”

Karol Cariola is a member of the Chamber of Deputies of Chile for the Independencia and Recoleta districts of Santiago and general secretary of the Communist Youth of Chile. Hugo Guzman is the editor of El Siglo, Chile’s communist newspaper.

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