Since October 2019, Chileans have taken to the streets to protest against the policies of President Pinera. They demand the writing of a new constitution and social reforms.
I am Marcela, 48 years old, mother of one son, divorced and independent. I am a television producer, goldsmith and currently a caregiver. I live in San Esteban, a municipality in Los Andes, in the region of Valparaíso, Chile. I have never been a member of a political party, nor will I ever be. I am a feminist and an animalist.
How did the Chileans live before the beginning of the movement ?
Before the social explosion, we were a people resigned to the fragile and superficial prosperity and good standing of our economy, but a series of events and cruel words from government officials, coupled with the increase in the price of subway tickets, were the spark that ignited the explosion. It was the youth who opened our eyes and millions of people took to the streets to demand dignity and a new constitution. All of Chile united to demand a plebiscite that would allow us to choose whether or not to write a new Constitution, and the “approve” option won with an 80% advantage over the “reject” option, which only got 20%.
What motivated you personally to participate in the movement ?
As a feminist and caregiver for my mother of 15 years, who has had frontotemporal dementia for 23 years, we started an Aconcagua Women’s Group (AMA). From there, we organized the March 8 (International Women’s Rights Day) walk in 2020 and 2021 and the main objective was to help vulnerable women, which was cut short with the arrival of the pandemic.
I am fighting for my mother and her rights, which are suppressed because she is married in community of property and is dependent on my father. That is why she has no old age pension, but will inherit 60% of my father’s pension when he dies. She is also on the national disability registry, with a 95% intellectual disability, and she is also not entitled to a disability pension because of her marital status. I am fighting for my rights and the rights of all caregivers, which are as fundamental as they are invisible. I am fighting for unpaid domestic work, because without it there would be no development. I am fighting for the disabled, so that they are not only helped by the charity of the Teleton once a year, but that they are really included in society, that they have rights. I am fighting for women and LGTBIQ+ communities to be able to walk around in peace, dressed as they wish. For the right to sex education, for equal rights, and for them to stop killing us.
If you could give a message to all the oppressed women in the world, what would you tell them ?
I would tell the women of the world that the Revolution is feminist and the Homeland will be Matria. The world will be a much better place.
Don’t give up!
Marcela contacted us again shortly after sending us her testimony, as the approach of the second round of elections (December 19) and the possible election of the extreme right-wing candidate is causing great distress among the Chilean people. She writes to us: ]
“If the extreme right with José Antonio Kast wins, Chile is in serious danger. As a woman, a divorcee, a caregiver, an artisan, an animal lover and an activist, I call for help for my country. Democracy is at stake!”