The organization analyzed the country’s current affairs with professors from the School of Government Roberto Méndez and Rodrigo Valdés, and the academic from the Institute of Political Science Valeria Palanza. The event was attended by the directors of the institution, as well as the rector Ignacio Sánchez.
A complete analysis and overview of the current political, economic and social situation of the country was made in July 2021 by the professors of the UC School of Government, Roberto Méndez and Rodrigo Valdés, and the academic of the Institute of Political Science, Valeria Palanza, in the framework of a discussion organized by Friends of Catholic University in Chile, Inc, (Friends UC), a non-profit institution based in the United States that collaborates with the Catholic University in its initiatives and projects, and which is headed by the UC lawyer Sava Thomas. The rector of the university, Ignacio Sanchez, and provost for Institutional Managerial Affairs, Patricio Donoso, who is also a member of the board of directors of the organization, which is made up of 21 people, also participated in the event.
The meeting began with a speech by the rector, who commented on the results of the dialogue platform Tenemos que Hablar de Chile (We Need to Talk about Chile), and at the same time referred to the presentation of these results to the constituents. He also gave an account of other actions linked to supporting the work of the Constitutional Convention, such as the proposals for regulations submitted by the university, as well as the lines of work on which different professors are focusing in order to contribute to the debate, such as religious freedom, freedom of teaching and respect for the dignity of the human person, among others.
Subsequently, Valeria Palanza, academic and deputy director of the Institute of Political Science, made an analysis of the political situation in the country, marked by the implementation of the Constitutional Convention and the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections. The professor was optimistic, pointing out that the composition of the convention «is more similar to Chile than any other body. It reflects the heterogeneity of the country». She also highlighted the fact that the strong violence that took place at the end of 2019 could have been channeled through institutional channels: «The pandemic helped, but I think that what contained the violence was the agreement of November 15». In this line, she said that in Chile there is confidence in democracy and institutions.
Roberto Méndez, for his part, stated that Chile is undergoing a very significant process of change. «There is a body that has the power to replace and modify democratic institutions and propose new ones. It is a radical change», he affirmed, adding that there has been a shift in power, which is no longer in the hands of the groups that have traditionally held it, as evidenced by the composition of the Constitutional Convention. Both facts, he explained, make up what in his opinion is a true revolution, but of an institutional nature. The academic also valued the role of UC in this period: «It is a pride to be part of this institution, which has been key in what we have lived in these last two years», referring specifically to the social outbreak and the events that have been triggered from there, and also to the pandemic.
Finally, Professor Rodrigo Valdés gave his view of the political and economic reality, which has been marked by an important temporary increase in people’s purchasing power as a result of the withdrawals of pension funds and the IFE (Ingreso Familiar de Emergencia or Emergency Family Income). In this sense, he expressed that, in the short term, the economy looks very good, but in the long term the challenges are many and complex. In addition, there is an atmosphere of uncertainty that has lowered investor confidence, and he expressed his concern about fiscal balances.