The roads of life
Are not what I thought
They are not what I believed
They're not what I imagined.

The lyrics of the song "Los Caminos de la Vida", by Colombian composer and musician Omar Geles, have been heard since 1993 when it was released in many Latin American countries. In the case of Chile, it accompanies many New Year's Eve parties, especially after midnight, due to its melancholic melody and lyrics that contribute to evoking the time gone by, or the personal balance of life. If we apply it to politics, it describes great truths, both for the left and the right.

Today, the two foundational projects of the Constitution presented to the Chilean people in the last four years lie in the trash, both categorically rejected by the citizens, who did not accept the imposition of excluding models of society that did not contemplate the aspirations and values of an important part of the country. What today seems obvious to everyone, was not obvious to those who drafted the constitutional projects and who did not want to listen to the voices that warned of the maximalist character of both proposals. They were four years of wasted time, of wear and tear, and of reciprocal accusations that caused, finally, a sort of constitutional fatigue, where the political parties and the government itself have closed the debate, at least until the end of the current government of President Gabriel Boric, in March 2026.

The Roads of Politics, in this case, have not been those dreamed by him and his generation that took office in 2022, convinced that they would put an end to the ultra-liberal model imposed by the Chilean military dictatorship, together with the replacement of the old guard of politicians whom they denigrated, arrogating even better moral values.

However, the old politicians made possible a long transition that is still unfinished, but which provided political stability and economic growth. On the side of the hard right, which wrote the second proposal for the Constitution, the most conservative hegemonic concepts in economic and value terms prevailed, skillfully drafted to make them pass almost unnoticed by the citizens.

It was the immediate rejection of personalities such as former President Michelle Bachelet, who, together with other politicians, set the stage for the battle to unmask the reactionary project unanimously supported by the entire Chilean right-wing, without exception.

"Los Caminos de la Vida" quickly showed the new ruling generation that reality cannot be changed "as they believed", but that in addition to the will, political force is needed. The Chilean right wing, accustomed to imposing its ideas, found that the Constitution they "dreamed of" did not pass the test of a country that increasingly demands more social rights, greater respect, and equality for women.

Each country in the region faces different realities but with common problems. One of them is the drug trafficking that crosses all South American countries, the violence that has taken over the main cities, suburban poverty, and the concentration of wealth, which produces increasingly unequal societies.

Argentina is beginning an unprecedented experience after the alternation between Peronism and the government of former President Mauricio Macri, succeeded by a Peronist, Alberto Fernández, who seemed to be more moderate, and who ended up handing over the presidential sash to an ultra-liberal right-wing extremist, as is the current President Javier Milei. He receives the country with an economy with an annual inflation rate of around 150%, poverty that reaches 40% of the population and a state apparatus overpopulated with civil servants, which adds up to a fiscal deficit of around 1.6% of GDP by the year 2023.

What can Milei, whose electoral campaign symbol was a chainsaw, do? He has promised to cut public spending for "the caste", reducing jobs, ministries, and cultural funds and applying Chile's neoliberal recipes, introduced during Pinochet's military dictatorship, several of which are still in force. "Los Caminos de la Vida" already proved that Peronism was neither good nor bad, but "incorrigible", as Jorge Luis Borges used to say. Now we shall see how Milei will manage to govern the increasingly difficult and ungovernable Argentina.

In the case of Peru, since its return to democratic normality in 1980, 13 Heads of State have passed through the presidency, which gives an average of 3.3 years of duration, due to various causes or institutional crises. Since 2000 to date, the ten presidents who have democratically won elections have all had problems with the justice system over corruption issues, and in the last four years alone, Peru has had six presidents with repeated crises with Congress. Former president Fujimori, sentenced to 25 years in prison for human rights violations, was recently released, despite the demands of international organizations. The popular former president Alan García preferred to commit suicide rather than appear in court; Alejandro Toledo was extradited from the United States and is awaiting trial; Pedro Pablo Kuczynski resigned after two years in office due to accusations of corruption and bribery.

The last elected president, Pedro Castillo, who took office in 2021, managed to govern for a little more than a year with a program very close to the extreme left, where he tried to close the Congress, govern by decrees, and even call for a Constituent Assembly. He was dismissed and imprisoned, leaving in office the current President, Dina Boluarte, the first woman in history to occupy the first magistracy. Once again, the "Paths of Life" showed Castillo that things were not as he thought they were.

We could continue with what is happening in other countries with full democracy in the region, such as Colombia or Brazil, where presidents are encountering resistance to the implementation of deep reforms in some cases. Others, as in Ecuador, where the return of the followers of former president Rafael Correa, whose candidate lost the elections, was expected. Bolivia, with former president Evo Morales, in civil war with his own party, and where the Supreme Court rejected his appeal to the "human right" to be eternally reelected.

The pathetic drama of Nicaragua, under the co-government of Ortega and his wife, or the semi-democratic regime of Venezuela, where the government raises territorial claims, threatening peace in South America, to inflame patriotism as part of the campaign for a new re-election of the current president, Nicolás Maduro, in 2025, who has been ruling the Venezuelan people since 2013.

In short, we can affirm that "the roads of life", or, in this case, politics, are not today as they were dreamed, nor are they as they were imagined. All because of those who have come to govern.