Ricardo Lagos, Former President of Chile, speaks at Universidad Viña del Mar

16/08/2011


Lagos at UVM Chile

Former President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos Escobar, delivered a speech recently at Universidad Viña del Mar (UVM), titled "Challenges to Democracy in Chile," which addressed seven key strategic points that must be addressed to ensure Chile's economic and social development between now and 2030.

During the event, the lawyer and economist recognized the empowerment of citizens reflected in the student movement, noting that recent events are "an expression of democracy achieved." He also noted that there is a need to repeal the electoral system and broaden representation in Congress.

The former president's visit was part of a new Academic Lecture Series organized by Julio Castro, UVM's Rector, which has included visits from the Minister of Labor and Social Welfare, Evelyn Matthei, the Secretary General of the OAS, José Miguel Inzulsa and presidential candidate, Marco Enríquez - Ominami.

According to President Lagos, the seven challenges facing Chile between now and 2030 can be summarized as: "Advancing Democracy 2.0", "Going from gradual to a revolution in education", "Moving towards a society of guarantees and obligations", "Chile node and the best cities to live", "The population as an engine of development", "Breaking the trend in income distribution" and "Chile - a power in renewable energy."

REQUIRING A LONG TERM APPROACH

According to President Lagos, Chile and its rulers have to emphasize equity and equality within a global context. This is why he drew up a document with seven strategic points that are essential in his view for Chile's long-term development.

"When I wrote this document in March I did not think we'd be in a situation where the many important issues that seemed distant would be a part of everyday discussion. Therefore, I concluded that it is better that we move faster and think about the challenges of the next 20 years because the social forces are faster and tend to trigger certain processes. It is best to have answers than to have a discussion without the ideas that we will not know how to address," said Lagos.

He also said that his Coalition played an important role in helping Chile get to a new stage where long term goals are necessary. "A lot of times we focus on the short term rather than the medium and long, but if you don't think about the latter, you lose strategic direction," he said.

In conclusion he said that "what is happening these days is the best proof that there are ethical issues that we have failed to properly address and while we solve certain problems, there are always new ones popping up. Therefore, what we did with this document was create an invitation to have a civilized discussion and I realize now that I want to update the document with some of the many suggestions that we received," he said.