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Reflecting on the final push to liberate Chile

LAUTARO CARMONA, parliamentary candidate for the mid-northern district of Atacama explains to Hugo Guzman the importance of this weekend’s elections

WITH campaigning days up to 12 hours long and travelling hundreds of kilometres in the heat Lautaro Carmona, the left electoral coalition Apruebo Dignidad’s candidate for Atacama, has been concentrating all her energy on getting people to vote and “consolidate support for  left-wing candidates” — including presidential hopeful Gabriel Boric — for parliament and regional councils.

We need to focus on the fact that “a quality of life different from the current one is entirely possible, within the framework of a new government that addresses issues of the right to free health and education, the right to a new pension system, employment rights, the right to housing, job stability and a decent and fair salary, the rights of indigenous peoples, the right to a healthy coexistence without crime or drug trafficking, where culture, sport and diversity are promoted, where women’s rights are prioritised,” he told El Siglo.

Carmona said that “a certain degree of scepticism” has appeared in recent weeks, adding: “We must concentrate all our energies, all our arguments, all our persuasion skills, on explaining why — for the future of our families and our people -—it is important to go and vote. A large voter turnout is needed in order to advance the positions of transformation and change.”

He has been on the campaigning trail in the thinly populated Atacama every day for the last couple of months. He has met with workers, people from small and medium mining enterprises, housewives, the elderly, young people and women, villagers, and those campaigning for access to free, clean water.

He told El Siglo: “You have to be very willing to travel all over this region where the distances are enormous, but you know that in each locality, in each hamlet and town, there is a population with strong local roots and most of them are linked to the world of labour, and that motivates me,” although he wishes “there was less travel time to have more time to be with the people.

“My reward is being reunited with so many people with whom we worked a lot during the last eight years as member of parliament. We talk about the need for decentralisation, support for the different labour sectors, care for the environment, the need to defend the right of access to water, from how to guarantee health and education in Atacama, to local budgets for the regions, and many other issues.”

He pointed out that “we [the left coalition] are the guarantee for the transformations that the people demand. We have been tirelessly spelling out Gabriel Boric/Apruebo Dignidad’s transformational programme.”

Carmona makes the point that “in Atacama 86 per cent voted in favour of a new constitution, so we are explaining that we will work for this new constitutional text and seek to guarantee the rights that the people demand.”

In the final-week run-up to the presidential, parliamentary and regional councillor elections, the candidate for Atacama said: “We have to be confident speaking about the social-political struggle of the people, who have and are demanding change. It is imperative that it is understood that a government headed by Boric will need a parliamentary majority that supports the transformations and not one that puts a brake on changes.”

Carmona stresses that “we must continue to call on the people to support Boric and Apruebo Dignidad, to validate the leadership of the left.”

To achieve this fully, he believes that “our candidacies have to be more explicit in referring to their [class] roots and identity, they should be clear that they are candidates of the Chilean Left, that they are from Apruebo Dignidad and Chile Digno, and that they represent the Communist Party.”

Lautaro Carmona is secretary-general of the Communist Party of Chile (CPCh), Hugo Guzman is editor of El Siglo (The Century) the CPCh newspaper.

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