This Week's Program: Wednesday, November 11, 2020


Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa is one of the most important Indigenous leaders in Chile. The son of a prominent Rapa Nui politician, he lived in the United States for many years. Since 1990 Mayor Paoa has been a key figure in the life of the Island. His government program was called Plan Amor and given its coincidences with the 20/30 agenda of the United Nations, it was chosen as a mirror territory by the organization. With the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, Mayor Pedro Edmunds Paoa decided to close Rapa Nui to tourism and invoke the TAPU (Taboo) which is an ancestral call to order and unrestricted respect for the orders of the authority. Thanks to that decision he managed to stop the advance of the coronavirus when they had only three cases were detected. Mayor Paoa’s formula for attacking the virus has been applauded around the world. His direct style has placed him as one of the most credible politicians in Chile. With the social explosion, he became part of those who sought the creation of a new constitution. For the first time, he managed to unite Indigenous mayors in an association. Mayor Paoa’s word is respected in Rapa Nui, where he is preparing to go to a new term as Mayor. 

Manuel Rozental is a long-time Colombian activist, researcher and community organizer. Manuel’s been involved with grassroots political organizing with youth, Indigenous communities, and urban and rural social movements for four decades. He joins us today to deliver an update and analysis on what’s happening in Chile and other parts of Latin America, as it concerns Indigenous people. Tiokasin will also talk with Manuel about Chileans today overwhelmingly approved, at the polls, the doing away of the Constitution drafted and approved under the military regime of Augusto Pinochet and gave the green light to the creation of a Constitutional Assembly. 

According to official data by Chile's official electoral body, with 45.24% of the vote counted, 77.85% percent of the voters checked the Approval box, an overwhelming figure in contrast to the 22.15% percent who chose to legitimize the current Constitution, which was supported by a majority of right-wing parties. Chileans also overwhelmingly chose a constitutional convention as the method to create a new constitution. 

Also, thousands of Chilean citizens cast their votes in 65 countries. Argentina, the United States, Spain, Canada, and Australia were the nations most represented. Over 80% of voters overseas supported approval for a new constitution. This is the first time in the South American nation’s history that citizens are asked whether or not they want a new Magna Carta. Citizens also voted to create a Constitutional Convention to draft the new fundamental law. Manuel also shows the political relationship Chile has with the U.S. and role of  the current president elect Joe Biden.