“The confluence of money and politics hobbles democracies throughout the Americas...Chile, in particular, may exemplify this problem more than any other country.”
It seems that economic interests endlessly muddle politics throughout the Americas, especially considering where campaign financing comes from. Chile is a prime example of how this problem has begun to spin out of control. Within the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Chile is considered the most unequal country. After a 20-year military dictatorship, the emergence of the country’s Democratic forces were not prepared with effective policies and models, leading to a system with little structure and checks and balances in place. Now, we are seeing the disastrous effects of that ungraceful transition. The non-profit group called “Ciudadano Inteligente,” or “Smart Citizen,” was created in 2009 in order to address inequality in Chile and surrounding regions. The organization in 2013 focused on asking governmental candidates the often ignored question: “Who’s funding you?” The results were unclear, and the transparency of these candidates disheartening. The country’s numerous scandals in 2014 created outrage from the public regarding a campaign finance system that was operating completely outside the law, and some change has ensued. President Michelle Bachelet responded with a Presidential Council Against Corruption, Influence-Peddling, and Conflicts of Interests. Several reforms have been carried out, but many are still pending. This is still a story being written; we should celebrate and support this new-found push for accountability, but the push must continue to come from the public to ensure that this change is realized and sustained.