Jose Antonio Cast

Alison Wilding OBE, Untitled, 1990


A more reactionary, despotic and violent politician than Pinochet

The narrow victory of José Antonio Kast in the first round of presidential elections (only about 150.000 votes ahead of Gabriel Boric out of 7 million) puts Chile on the verge of a dismal outcome. Behind this operetta Führer, proud of his Nazi ancestors and an avowed admirer of a tyrant – and also a thief – like Augusto Pinochet, the decomposing remains of the traditional Chilean right are grouped in groups. His perfidious characters, nested in various parties, who initially despised him and mocked his ridiculous foolishness, now exalt him as the messiah destined to save Chile from the clutches of leftist vandals, or the aliens that President Sebastián Piñera's wife believed have seen in the great days of October 2019.

Kast, like Jair Bolsonaro, Donald Trump and Santiago Abascal (the leader of Vox, with ardent nostalgia for the good times of Francisco Franco and the Holy Inquisition in Spain) are the excrescences expelled by capitalist society once its irreversible decline has begun. Good manners and hypocritical invocations of democracy and human rights give way to the vomiting of these grotesques that accelerate humanity's march towards its destruction. From the other side of the Andes came the exultant greeting of Javier Milei, another demagogue of the same lineage, who in a tweet sent his “congratulations on managing to translate into votes a proposal for overcoming problems for Chile and at the same time moving it away from impoverishing socialism. . LIVE THE FUCKING FREEDOM”. Fully in tune with the Argentine's stupidity, Kast responded by saying: “Thank you very much dear Javier. Long live freedom in fucking Chile and Argentina!”

Beyond these demonstrations, what matters is that this guy, and the reactionary mob that surrounds him and pampers him (and who celebrated his victory on Monday with a significant rise in the Santiago Stock Exchange), is the concrete project that proposes to impose if elected president of Chile. Kast's “Government Program” is presented in an extensive 204-page document entitled “Atreva-se Chile” which begins with a “Republican Manifesto” that describes the evils that afflict that country: “the progressive punishment of property; the promotion of an interventionist state; the identification of irreducible enemies such as private enterprise and the market system; violent protest and vandalism as a justification for breaking rules and disrespecting authority; the resurgence of a fallacious neo-Marxist discourse of the struggle between the sexes, races, sexual orientations, corrupted views of human rights, the interpretation of science (and the) harassment of the Christian faith” (p. 3). There follows an extensive enumeration of the 829 (sic!) corrections required to remedy such an excruciating situation. It is not necessary to reproduce them here, but I invite my readers to make an effort and be encouraged to rummage through this fetid latrine of reactionary proposals, in order to accurately characterize what awaits Chile if this Führer from the dirtiest dens arrives in La Currency.

Here are some examples:

# 72 “strengthen Chile's ties with the United States, United Kingdom, Japan and Germany, as leader of the European Union, as strategic political partners. We also encourage closer ties with Asia-Pacific countries, given their growing economic importance.” Of course, for Kast and his dour advisers, China does not exist.

# 74 “an important aspect of the issue of security is to prevent national political actors from seeking transnational alliances in order to increase their chances of coming to power in Chile, and even doing so irreversibly. A serious danger is the historical tendency of subversive regimes like Cuba and Venezuela to support, through illegal and hidden means, groups and political parties of the Chilean extreme left, before which our elected governments have shown extreme weakness and tolerance”. The old theory that conflicts and social struggles reach idyllic Chile from abroad; formerly from the Soviet Union, today from Cuba and Venezuela.

And then there's another caveman nonsense that I, as a proud FLACSO graduate, can't help but mention. Recommendation number 77 of its program warns that “a special case deserves the situation of FLACSO, an entity of a supposedly academic nature, which for decades has leaned towards political activism and a work haven for former national and foreign politicians. This entity will be notified of the end of its operations in our country”. The truth is that it's been years since I've come across people as ignorant and primitive as the writers of this nonsense, incapable of valuing FLACSO's international academic credentials. The program goes on to state in issue 82 that “We will withdraw Chile from the UN Human Rights Council”, something that was already foreseen in issue 30, which announced the “Closing of the current National Institute of Human Rights and its replacement by a transversal institution dedicated to the effective defense of the human rights of all citizens”. The next item, number 31, promises “more arrests for Chile and more protection and benefits for the Gendarmes… No more guarantees”.

The culmination of this fascist and grotesque project is at the same time a reissue of the dismal Plan Condor, which in the times of Pinochet, Videla and company claimed the lives of thousands of Latin Americans and condemned many others to exile. # 33 declares, without ambiguities, that the “International Anti-Radical Left Coordination” (sic!) will advance. What is happening in Colombia is not a coincidence. The model of antisocial irruption in Chile is repeated. We will coordinate with other Latin American governments to identify, arrest and try radicalized agitators.” Pinochet carried out Plan Condor, but never confessed to its existence. Kast, on the other hand, announces it with his chest puffed up with arrogance and looking for Washington's knowing wink.

In short: a program guided by the war cry of Francoism: “Long live death!” and combined with an ultraneoliberal economic program. In short: this madman has achieved what until now seemed impossible: that a more reactionary, despotic and violent politician than Pinochet would appear in Chile. Kast did. Let's hope that the electorate wakes up in time and prevents this monster from becoming president and sinking the land of Salvador Allende, Victor Jara, Pablo Neruda, Gladys Marín, Violeta Parra and so many others into barbarism.

*Atilio A. Boron is professor of political science at the University of Buenos Aires. Author, among other books, of Minerva's Owl (Voices).

Translation: Fernando Lima das Neves.

Originally published in the newspaper Página12.


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