The president of the body in charge of drafting a new Constitution in Chile, the Mapuche academic Elisa Loncón, thanked Time magazine for having included her in its list of most influential personalities in 2021 and said that “a leader is not made alone.”
“A leader is not made alone, he is made with the collaboration of citizens, of organizations,” Loncón said in statements to the media.
The prestigious British publication published this week the list of the “100 most influential people of 2021”, among which it also included other women such as US Vice President Kamala Harris and Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first woman to lead the World Trade Organization ( OMC), and highlighted de Loncón that “it represents centuries of their dreams and struggles.”
“For the first time in history, indigenous peoples are participating in the life of the state as representatives of their native nations,” the magazine noted.
58 years old and born in the remote Lefweluan indigenous community (Southern Chile), Loncón was elected last July to head the body that will draft the text that will replace the current Constitution, inherited from the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990) and considered the origin of the great inequalities of the country.
It is the first time in the history of Chile that citizens elected at the polls will draft the Magna Carta in a convention with seats reserved for indigenous peoples and gender parity, something unprecedented in the world.
With a doctorate in Humanities from the University of Leiden (Holland) and another in Literature from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile, the magazine described the academic as a “brilliant and distinguished academic woman”, who “has spoken of love, of listening to herself” .
“The beautiful dark skin of mestizos and indigenous peoples has been kept out of the corridors of power, but it is in those corridors that Elisa Loncón Antileo now walks. In its light, indigenous girls and boys can see the possibility of a better future, “added Time.
The constituent process, which was proposed to ease the wave of protests – the greatest social crisis in the 31 years of Chilean democracy – will predictably culminate in 2022 with the celebration of another plebiscite that ratifies the new text.
“For me, it is a great honor and I also want to highlight in this gratitude the work team with which I am here at the convention,” added the indigenous activist.
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