On the same day that Rojo Edwards left the presidency of the Republican Party, the vice president of La Araucanía submitted his resignation today. She says she’s tired of the “punishments” this community imposes on her for taking different positions on certain issues. She voted in favor of the fifth recall, which cost her marginalization from the bench and blamed her for not even letting her have lunch with the rest of her peers. The parliamentarian assures that José Antonio Cast and Cristian Valenzuela run the party and that the latter tells them how they should vote on various issues. “It’s like Rasputin,” he says. He also claimed that he would continue as an independent but join the People’s Party bench.
Why did you decide to resign?
They get me off the bench in training. The punishments they gave me all this time, which are childish punishments, for example, I can’t go to lunch with them, I can’t participate in recess with them, it takes away the opportunity for me to have time to talk when the bench ends, it doesn’t allow me to use the resources of the committee, which was the last thing: I couldn’t use photographers, nothing, it’s like when children play ball and they get stung. The truth is that these are childhood punishments that gave me a bit of the same, but unfortunately the solution was already in my mind and heart.
On what day did you resign?
I’ve already given up on the Republicans. This morning I released myself because the truth is that this party unfortunately operates more like a sect and I am not in politics to be a member of a sect. I entered politics representing the people, that’s what is important to me. When there are important votes, I ask and do what people somehow convey to me. I don’t vote because the cult leader tells me to. I vote because people want me to represent them.
Was Rojo Edwards, who today resigned from the presidency, a bit of a victim of this?
I do not know. I just found out about Rojo Edwards stepping down from the board, I guess it’s something that’s been brewing for a long time because that’s how things work in this game. I guess Rojo’s resignation is because the party leaders decided it was better to have someone else today. (…). I came into the Republican Party thinking that it was different, that it wasn’t going to be more of the same, that it wasn’t going to operate in the same way as the traditional parties, and that it was somehow trying to interpret to people that this was the most important thing to it. That’s why I entered. But the truth is that after Jose Antonio Cast won in the first round, the next day I realized that this was not the case. At the end of the day, all of us who were elected MPs put us aside for the second round and all the people from Chile joined. Come on, they ruled the entire second round, along with Cristian Valenzuela, who is like Rasputin, the shadow leader who is constantly in the ear of Jose Antonio Cast and it continued.
What do you mean?
You will understand that the parliamentary bank must be able to make decisions independent of the party, because we are the ones who are here (…). But when you see that even the MP bank carries out the orders that come from the party. The president of the party on paper all this time was Rojo Edwards, but in practice the one who runs the party and all the organizations that depend on the party are Jose Antonio Cast and Cristian Valenzuela. Valenzuela is the person who sends the guidelines, but not only the guidelines, but tells the MPs how they should vote, the drafts and everything.
Do you attribute the deal with you to him?
I have no doubt that all these absurd punishments and scapegoats that have been thrown at me all this time, since it occurred to me to vote differently from them on the fifth withdrawal, are coming right there. I don’t have the slightest doubt.
Do you think Cast and Valenzuela will appoint the next Republican president?
I don’t have the slightest doubt. Of course they will do all the trappings of a meeting where everyone votes, I don’t know what else, but in the end I have no doubt that the name should already be chosen. I have no idea what it will be.
Did you see other things in the Republican Party that made you uncomfortable?
The punishments and these orders on how to do things that I know many were uncomfortable with, but in the end they all followed. I have no idea if this is some kind of magic that Mr. Valenzuela does mainly on people. I don’t know how he exercises his power. But in the end, I know that despite the inconvenience, even though I often disagree with voting motions or things like that, in the end everyone goes along.
Will this hierarchy now occur in terms of party participation in the constituent process? Maybe some wanted to participate more but were denied the opportunity or not?
I do not know. On Sunday night, as I listened to Rojo Edwards’ speech, my bat started to hurt. When I saw on TV that Jose Antonio Cast came on stage, almost like “I’m the maximum leader and all this vote is thanks to us”… But please! They didn’t understand anything. Here people voted because people regained their patriotism, their freedom and exercised their vote freely. This is not a triumph for any political party. All the parties that pretended, including the Republicans, to claim this as their own victory, I’m sorry, but that’s not understanding anything.
Were you able to discuss this with Valenzuela or Cast?
I have nothing to discuss with any of them. My last conversation with José Antonio Cast was on the day the fifth withdrawal was voted. He called me at noon, greeted me very politely, but the conversation led to little politeness.
Did you yell at him?
No, he never screams. He told me “I helped you so much, look how you answer me”. This impressed me quite a bit because I have nothing to answer to anyone except the people who voted for me. And then he told me that if I didn’t vote like the rest of the MPs from the bank or if I didn’t leave the room not to vote, I would forget that he existed. And I told him, “Okay.” And I forgot it existed. I never spoke to him again.
By regulation you have to be on the bench, have you thought about becoming a member of another party or which one to join?
I will remain independent. The truth is that after 30 years in the UDI which was a different type of party and having had this experiment of thinking it was a different party and realizing later that it was more of the same, I do not wish to join the military in no way. I have had talks, I have had offers from many benches to join them and from today I am definitely joining the PDG bench. Why? Simply because PDG listens to the people. Allow for differences of opinion, listen to the opinion of the people and parliamentarians. Finally, it is not a sect, but indeed a political party.