The embarrassing spectacle of the interpellation in the Chamber of Deputies of Minister Javiera Blanco, where the focus was on the “political favors” of the Gendarmerie and the irregularities in Sename, confirms to me that the “uncovering of the pot” in Justice goes beyond all the scandals we have seen in the last year.
I do not know if the same thing will happen to all Chileans, but at least I cannot believe that I have been so blind. For so many years we thought we were the jaguars of Latin America, but little by little we came to know some cases. We started with Penta, then Caval, until we got to SQM and we learned through the media about the irregular financing of politics, up to the abuses of President Michelle Bachelet’s son.
However, we always thought they were exceptions, like rotten apples that did not infect the rest.
We were taking the stage to see how the political world blamed each other and how they all shielded themselves in the same phrase, “they all did it”. And despite the evidence, we consoled ourselves by saying that we could not be so corrupt, because even politicians “gave ballot”.
We also knew about the ANFP case and defended Sergio Jadue until he escaped on a plane to Miami. But we explained the fact, that Jadue is not a Chilean issue, it is a soccer issue, and we have always known whether Mrs. FIFA was corrupt, or not?
At some point, we found a hopeful answer, thanks to the Engel Commission, but when everything was looking hopeful, a new pot was uncovered, and in my opinion more serious than all the others. In the Ministry of Justice, we learned of “jubilates”, the not very esthetic designation of the former prosecutor of the 27/F case to the command of the Senate, and we continue entering into murkier waters.
Thus we have learned how things work in the public apparatus, where through assignments, nominations, salaries, etc., the so-called “political favors” are paid. Like Whatsapp revealed by Deputy Marcela Sabat in the interpellation, where a leader of the Gendarmerie workers related to the Government asked for a department head “with the approval” of the Minister. Yes, these favors are also corruption. Not with the image of the money briefcases in the movies, but they are taking advantage of the system.
The most serious thing is that all this scandal is happening in a ministry that is supposed to watch over the justice of this country, and where one would most expect it to act by example. Because, as we would say in an episode of Chapulín Colorado, “and now, who will be able to defend us?
This is just beginning, the opposition announced a constitutional accusation against Minister Blanco, and we will likely end up pulling a thread that will lead us to new scandals. But to keep the positive side, we Chileans are no longer naive, we can no longer say “this happens to our neighbors, it does not happen in our country”.
Although the transition is painful, we are becoming a less corrupt country, and where we will think twice before being offered something that seems dubious. It is this awareness that allows us to take steps to ensure that this does not happen again. This is the challenge we face today: to start thinking about how we do things and not only about the result we get from them.
By Susana Sierra