The writer Marcelo Mellado (Concepción, 1955) talks from his own subjectivity, with scribbles, laughter, ironies, representations of characters and, deep down, from a freedom and originality not common among his colleagues: “We are in such a solemn moment , of certainties, of truths ”, criticizes with humor in this conversation by Zoom with EL PAÍS. From the outset, Mellado lives in Placilla de Peñuelas, “the backyard of the port of Valparaíso, where there are matching motels, truck drivers – which are the worst plague – and a population with a rural spirit,” describes the author of titles as Tapia Report The The mayor boy. From that place where he plants native trees, recycles, makes community life and makes some beautiful wooden canes – “from time to time, I write,” he says jokingly – he talks about the hours before the second round of the presidential election, where he They will face the leftist Gabriel Boric and the rightist José Antonio Kast.
Ask. You are from the left …
Answer. I’m from the left, which doesn’t mean anything. The left achieved something that it had not previously achieved: institutionalize itself in a powerful way. Before being on the left was a bit subversive, but not now. But I have a community perspective, I am not from institutions and I work from my locality. I have a very large distance with what I would call the left asshole or Santiago or metropolitan, which is practiced from the municipalities of Providencia, Ñuñoa or Parque Bustamante. They believe that being a writer or belonging to the world of culture implies having a certain behavior, repeating certain more or less obvious themes of habitability and manner. For example, when I have a Zoom, I have no libraries behind. They are imposters who use politics.
P. How do you see the environment in Chile?
R. At the level of subjective perception of the environment, in the area in which one moves, there is anguish. There is an agonizing conflict, a sense of defeat. At least tactical defeat and, perhaps, strategic defeat. There is not a good atmosphere, because it went back a lot. Apparently there had been progress at the level of demand, but something happened. And that something happened is something we have to work on and see. Sure, there are all the arrogance crises of the speeches of the left, although it is difficult not to be arrogant when they are in the fight.
P. In what sense?
Join EL PAÍS to follow all the news and read without limits.
R. The soldiers want to prove themselves gorillas, fighters. They have to show power, because humility doesn’t work in war or politics. But, apparently, there was an ideological triumph of certain positions on the left, at the cultural level, and suddenly this happens. I insist: something happened.
P. Something that allows to explain, perhaps, the unexpected emergence of Kast …
R. Probably, it has to do with a mismanagement of those tactical triumphs from the time of ‘Violator en tu camino’ of Lastesis, the installation of the feminist theme and diversity. When two years ago you have succeeded with progressive values, but you don’t know how to manage. The left sinned from a lot of gorilism and infantilism. A maximalism of certain sectors. And suddenly, in the cultural struggle, the right-wing toxifies the environment, because it becomes very toxic. It toxifies it we know how.
R. Here the conspiracy theory works, which is evident and it shows. And that toxification shows that the left is not that powerful, that it has a lot of arrogance. And that the left depends on the right. In short, there is a softness in which it was not known to administer a disruptive discourse. And the restorative moment began to emerge. And all revolutionary processes seem to have this restorative moment, and I mean it from a literary point of view. Today in Chile certain things have been installed that everyone has assumed, there is no doubt, despite the fact that femicides continue. But there is a macho, conservative restoration of national values. And who does that restoration? Fascism. The restoration of the original value of the terroir. And that was taken by fascism. And the anarcho-fascist, anarco-hueón, anarco-asshole Chilean bullshit was given to fascism on a platter.
P. Could you give an example?
R. I have a friend who told me: “I have to go and recite for Boric in the Aníbal Pinto square” in Valparaíso. And I said to him: “Hey, the poets are to blame. That really is ordinary ”. Poets reciting Boric Who cares? Not even the poets care. There we scrub. And all the jerks reciting to themselves. You know that there is an arrogance and a psychotic narcissism that goes nowhere.
P. Aside from Boric and Kast, there are the voters of Franco Parisi. How is the voter of Parisi?
R. They are pure guatones [gente con problemas de gordura] grills who get together to peel [hablar mal] to the women who abandoned them. Is a feeling. Gunmen Guatons [que les gusta la piscola, el trago de pisco con Coca-cola]. But yes, there is a restorative feel.
P. And the gorillas are everywhere?
R. On the left there are also gorilones, who are the ultra or those who work with slogans and do not do politics, but work with pure values. They are not to think. They are there to move you forward. “Comrade, here, we are in the fight.” An attitude that has to do with very thick things and that dominated a lot at some point. Above all, anti-concertationism, which I think has value.
P. Are you also an anti-Concertación of the center-left?
R. I am also anti Concertación, which is very guilty, because it generated this world of consumption. The Concertación installed itself with everything in the neoliberal project and developed and perfected it. And now Ricardo Lagos blames the ultra. But it is ultra also the moderate who defends to maintain the line.
P. What do you think of Boric?
R. We are at a time when Boric is either a hero or the devil. Because at a specific moment, on November 15, 2019, with the agreement for the new Constitution, it prevented everything from going overboard, that there would be a strategic defeat of the right and the Government, of the model, in the street. Although that would have been revolutionary. So if he loses, perhaps this is appealed to: how did you stop them from falling? The logical thing would have been perhaps to drop them. Or maybe Boric is a genius who said, “No, let’s do politics.” But the Cerderío has not let him do politics. The faces of a man, as I call those who do politics with a certain gorilism and strategic opportunism. They do not do politics, but religion, like the idiot of the mayor of Valparaíso, Jorge Sharp. Some guys who go personal. As in the world of the convention, which was very important …
P. What happens in the constitutional convention?
R. Revolutions are puddles, everything is very ordinary. Everything is like that, like Pelao Vade [el convencional que engañó a los electores con un falso cáncer] or the other crazy. Everything is a little ordinary. And the right is mostly ordinary. The right is fundamentally ordinary. On the left we have a little better design, because we have another logic.
P. And back to the poets. What does he have against poets?
R. One of the main culprits for the slowdown in changes in Chile has been the poets and the cultural apparatus. Boric is surrounded by a lot of poets, I think. These guys are pernicious because they are looking for cultural attachés, charges. Poets are very drawn and seekers of power, even if they don’t seem like it. From scratch power [ordinario], obviously.
P. In short, the left did not know how to manage well the moment when it seemed that it had the upper hand …
R. There is a local labor and policy administration problem. Much work was done in relation to the metropolitan world of Santiago and the central zone. Very urban everything.
P. What is happening in your region, in Valparaíso, days before the election?
R. It’s a little stinky [mal olor]. We still have a powerful critical mass that is for the changes, but shot in different directions. You see a lot of irresponsibility in sectors that, more than doing politics, do something else: narcissism or I don’t know what they do. Many people who come to the municipalities just to occupy places, which also happened in Valparaíso. The left was at some point too permeated by capitalistic narcissism [de Santiago]. We did not put all the cards in the new Constitution and everything can go to shit.
R. Because it implies changing habits, ways, culture and that is not there. When the left came to the municipalities, they did not act differently, but we took the place and intoxicated it. It acted the same as the previous ones, no more. Like when you watch the presidential debates. Suddenly, Gabriel Boric dances to the rhythm of the paleface [Kast]. The paleface speaks to him from conservative morals. And that’s where humor is lacking: how can you not stop a guy who tries to command you from fascist morality, about the one who tells the truth? Because Kast seems more than a political conservative priest who directs the restoration. How not to stop that from a simple ironic wink?
P. Like when Boric in Monday’s debate brings out his test of drugs, that Kast had asked him …
R. Clear. Nothing to do, I mean, why am I going to do what you ask of me? There are no questions to be answered. It is like when the wife answers the psychotic question to the jealous husband. Where did you go? If you answer the first question, you shit [erraste para siempre]. You will have to answer all the others. There is no answer. What will the atmosphere be like that the guy [Boric] Can’t even tell you smoke or smoked marijuana? It’s stupid. It’s like saying, “I’ve never had beer, I’ve always had an upright demeanor.” And I’ve always known that he likes fish, if I know him. A grilled, Magellanic type of lambs. The political system itself forces you to behave in an unusual way.
P. Is Chile in a delicate moment?
R. In Chile everything can go to hell. If Kast succeeds, everything could die. But I’m saying it from the wrong place, because I don’t belong to elites. I speak it from my home, where I live alone. But I fear a strategic triumph of the right, of toxicity, of fascism. This is a brutal struggle, the cultural struggle, that we have never had in such a powerful way, since the 1970s. One world and another. Hopefully we don’t lose, but what is coming is disaster. And the theme is to manage the disaster well, the horror.
P. Is the disaster assured, regardless of the outcome of the election?
R. Exactly, because if Boric wins, the extortion of the right wing will be brutal.
Subscribe here to the EL PAÍS América newsletter and receive all the informational keys of the current situation in the region
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.