Chile Elections 2021: Juan Sutil: “A businessman cannot have much sympathy with Boric’s ideas” | International


Chilean businessman Juan Sutil during a visit to Spain in October 2021.
Chilean businessman Juan Sutil during a visit to Spain in October 2021.CPC

Juan Sutil (Santiago de Chile, 60 years old) is the president of the Confederation of Production and Commerce (CPC), the Chilean business corporation that brings together the main productive sectors of the country. Owner of Sutil Companies, he is dedicated to agricultural businesses, with an important presence in the south, where he has forged alliances with moderate Mapuche sectors. Sutil represents the economic elite of Chile. He speaks harshly against Gabriel Boric, the leftist candidate who will contest the presidency this Sunday against José Antonio Kast, the option of the extreme right. In this telephone conversation with EL PAÍS (he was in Araucanía at the time of the interview), Sutil says that a Boric victory will scare off long-term investments and will even open the door to “the dictatorship of the proletariat.”

Ask: What’s at stake on Sunday?

Answer: For good intentions that candidate Gabriel Boric may have, any coalition that has such a significant presence of the Communist Party, which we already know how it operates, is going to put Chile’s development model at risk. In Chile, a discourse of non-extractivism has been installed, that there is a neoliberal economy, when what exists in Chile is a social market economy, very similar to what happens in Portugal, Spain or other European countries. We are in a state of medium development, with the obvious pains of growth, and with some indicators that, although they are good, people perceive them as bad. And that generates a kind of outbreak or manifestation of the society that was fed with nonconformity. It is added that we have a very strong presence of a very hard left, with a very radical discourse regarding the development and growth model.

P. Why do people perceive the indicators negatively, if they are as good as they say?

R. Because there is a speech that finds everything bad. When you have a speech in which the hard left begins to gain ground and the center-left, the social democracy, which has made the most successful process of transition to democracy, ignores or distances itself from all its successes, it enters into that criticism. And then it falls into a spiral where the hard position of the extreme left begins to validate. So much so that when October 19 comes [de 2019], the center-left did not condemn the violence. He saw how the subway, churches, shops were burned and kept silent.

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R. Why do you think it was delayed?

P. There was political opportunism. Even, at some point, the toughest left proposed to bring down the government. It must be recognized that the agreement of November 15 [para convocar a una Asamblea Constituyente], allowed an institutional exit. Although it was half. More than a third of the mainstream are ordinary people who managed to be there because the standards to qualify fell, as demanded by the hard left. The center-left accepted it, and we came across what is called the People’s List, which is trying to draft a Chavista-type constitution. I hope that can be corrected.

P. How would you rate Kast? Are you a candidate from the extreme right?

R. The extreme right does not exist in Chile, it has never existed. In Chile no one attempts against a statue of Salvador Allende, nor do people go out on the street. But there is an extreme left that is in the street, that is in the resistance, in terrorism. And you see it every day in Araucanía, with attacks; You see it in the political discussion, how it moves in the universities and how they destroy the statues and national values ​​that Chile has.

P. But Kast’s speech is extreme in many respects. Are you not afraid that once in government it will become radical?

R. Kast, who may be the most right-wing within the right, has no chance of creating a pure right-wing government, because today what guarantees future governance is how the citizens spoke in the last election. And he elected half of the Senate from the center-left and left and the other half from the center-right and right. Congress will maintain the balance and will force whoever governs to reach agreements.

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P. Let’s talk about the Mapuche conflict and violence. It has a solution?

R. It has a solution. Just look at the vote of José Antonio Kast in Araucanía. In the first round, a large part of the towns voted for Kast by more than 55%. That is because the Mapuche and non-Mapuche people want to live in peace. What is happening is that the sectors of the left of the Mapuche people are being assisted by the most radical sectors of the Communist Party and act as in Nicaragua or Venezuela, where those who do not join, rape their daughter or attack them. How many are in that position? Less than 1%, but they have terror in hand and they wreak havoc. The left takes the Mapuche cause, which is related to a historical debt resulting from an invasion, misnamed pacification. But the problems have more to do with the recognition of plurality and education.

P. Are you worried about the possibility of a Boric win?

R. I hope Boric does not win, because what is going to happen is that empty speech that is very beautiful, of a lot of people and blah, blah, blah, but that in the end is accompanied by an increase in corruption, inefficiency and informality and of the lack of investment. Countries develop when ordered. The concern is in the long term, because large investments are needed. And when you are telling the big investors that extractivism is over, that you have to nationalize the mines or put taxes on mining – as the candidate Boric said when he was a deputy – and it has been studied that if it were applied, half of the industry, then there are decisions that are very radical and populist. When political irrationality exists and the hard left is more to destroy than to build, countries are at risk.

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P. People are asking for more public health and public education. Kast doesn’t go that way. If you don’t solve that, the social situation will remain very volatile.

R. What Kast has said is that the State must be efficient in allocating resources to social management. He has never said that he will have no solutions for social problems. What happened in Chile is that society demands improvements in health, education and pensions. Piñera has presented two pension reforms and the left has refused to approve them, because it considers that this cannot be approved by a center-right government, which has to be approved by a left-wing government to capitalize on the victory. With that logic it is very difficult to build.

P. Do you know businessmen who are going to vote for Boric on Sunday?

R. They are very few, because the company or the businessman is the expression of the freedom to undertake, to do, to teach, to provide goods and services. I do not see that a businessman can have much sympathy with the ideas that the Communist Party can promote through Boric’s candidacy. They have declared that they have a 90% agreement between the program of Daniel Jadue (candidate for the Communist Party in the internship that Gabriel Boric won]. And that program consecrates public pharmacies, public construction companies, public media, public hardware stores. it is to take concrete control, and when that happens, we already know what follows: the dictatorship of the proletariat begins. Boric, no matter how good a person he may be, will not be able to contain it.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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