Parliamentarians and public figures from over 15 countries unite in defence of Chilean democracy ahead of the 19 December election.

We write to express our grave concern ahead of Chile’s presidential election on 19 December.

For the first time since Chile’s transition to democracy in 1990, a leading presidential candidate – José Antonio Kast – has not only endorsed the legacy of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, but also put forward a policy programme to revive it. Foreign governments played a sordid role in financing, facilitating and legitimating Pinochet’s rise and rule. We, parliamentarians and public figures from around the world, will not repeat their mistake.

José Antonio Kast has time and again defended the military dictatorship and the violent coup that brought it to power in 1973. ‘I thank them for giving us freedom,’ Kast has said. During the 2017 presidential campaign, he said, ‘In the military government, they did many things for the people’s human rights,’ flatly denying the horrors perpetrated against thousands of Chileans. Kast makes no secret of his affinity for Pinochet. ‘If Pinochet were alive, he would have voted for me,’ Kast has said.

Not only does Kast defend pinochetismo; he also promises to restore its legacy in government. Kast’s proposed plan of government would eliminate the Ministry of Women and prohibit abortion; introduce a Chilean ICE [The US’ Immigration and Customs Enforcement] to detain migrants and deploy security forces to hunt down political dissenters; withdraw from the UN Human Rights Council and pardon the torturers of the military dictatorship; and introduce new presidential emergency powers to deploy security forces. This same programme denies climate change, ‘redefines’ the status of Indigenous peoples and terminates their internationally-recognised rights to prior consultation and aggressively privatises Chilean natural resources.

Elected officials from Kast’s Republican Party have already provided some clues as to what his governance would mean: an extraordinary threat to women, migrants and Indigenous nations. Newly elected deputy Johannes Kaiser recently wondered if women’s right to vote ‘was a good idea.’ To quote him in full: ‘Women stop going to the park because they are afraid of immigrants who might rape them, but they keep voting for the same parties that are bringing those people in, and you really wonder if [women’s] right to vote was a good idea,’ he said.

For decades, the Chilean people struggled to bury the legacy of pinochetismo in their country. Thousands lost their lives during the dictatorship, and millions more mobilised to overthrow Pinochet and restore dignity to the country. Three decades later, in the protest movement that began in October 2019, the people of Chile once again rose up in defence of popular sovereignty, winning the right to a Constitutional Convention – a process that José Antonio Kast has opposed, decried and promised to undermine.

International solidarity failed the people of Pinochet’s Chile. It must not fail Chileans today. We write now in defence of Chilean democracy, in defence of the overwhelming apruebo vote to write a new constitution and in defence of the women, Indigenous nations, migrants and democratic principles that Kast’s victory could once again betray.


Ada Colau, Mayor of Barcelona, Spain

Rashida Tlaib, Member of the House of Representatives, United States of America

Yanis Varoufakis, Member of the Hellenic Parliament, Greece

Celso Amorim, former Minister of Foreign Relations, Brazil

Ernesto Samper, former President, Colombia

Aloizio Mercadante, former Minister of Education, Brazil

Jeremy Corbyn, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom

Noam Chomsky, Linguist and Activist, United States of America

Naomi Klein, Author, Canada

Jean-Luc Mélenchon, Member of the European Parliament, France

Christian Rodriguez, Head of International Relations for La France Insoumise, France

Andrés Arauz, Economist and former Presidential Candidate, Ecuador

Gerardo Pisarello, Member of the 13th Congress of Deputies, Spain

John Hendy QC, Member of the House of Lords, United Kingdom

Graham Morris, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom

Zarah Sultana, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom

Idoia Villanueva, Member of European Parliament, Spain

Richard Burgon, Member of Parliament, United Kingdom

Democratic Socialists of America, International Committee, United States of America

Niki Ashton, Member of Parliament, Canada

Leah Gazan, Member of Parliament, Canada

Matthew Green, Member of Parliament, Canada

Alexandre Boulerice – Rosemont– La Petite-Patrie, Canada

Sevim Dagdalen, Member of Bundestag, Germany

Zaklin Nastic, Member of Bundestag, Germany

Andrej Hunko, Member of Bundestag, Germany

Ali Al-Dailami, Member of Bundestag, Germany

Leila Chaibi, Member of European Parliament, France

Slavoj Zizek, Author and Philosopher, Slovenia

Nicolas Jaar, Artist, United States of America

Avi Lewis, Author and Activist, Canada

Vijay Prashad, Author and Activist, India

Antón Gómez-Reino, Vice President of the Foreign Affairs Commission, Spain

Lucía Muñoz Dalda, Member of the 13th Congress of Deputies, Spain

Alicia Castro, former Ambassador to the United Kingdom, Argentina

Crystal Warner, National Executive Vice-President, Canada Employment and Immigration Union, Canada

Scott Ludlam, former Senator, Australia

Ammar Jan, Scholar and Activist, Pakistan

Dr. Yara Hawari, Scholar and Activist, Palestine

Ahdaf Soueif, Author and Activist, Egypt

Srećko Horvat, Philosopher and Author, Croatia

This declaration was originally published by Progressive International and has been edited for style.

Alborada is a member of the Progressive International wire service.