The Guardian November 27, 2002

Chilean communists hold 22nd Congress

Full of hope and enthusiasm, delegates from all over Chile participated 
in the 22nd Congress of the Communist Party of Chile (CPC) this month in 
Santiago. During four days of impassioned and respectful discussion, open 
debate and exchange of experiences, more than 350 Communists met to define 
party policy for the next four years.

The new Central Committee considers its mandate to be building and 
rebuilding the party in new conditions, with a "people-based political 
vision, building a broad-based anti-neo-liberal movement."

Beginning on June 4, thousands of local and regional meetings were held to 
discuss the challenges facing the CPC today.

Gladys Marmn Millie, outgoing General Secretary, gave a report on the first 
day in the Hall of Honor of the former National Congress building.

The beautiful old building was where the Chilean Congress met during the 
years of President Salvador Allende's Popular Unity Government, which was 
overthrown in a CIA-backed bloody coup in September 1973.

Leaders of numerous Chilean political movements and organisations, as well 
as the President of the Central Union of Workers and leading cultural 
figures, including Voldya Teitelbom, former Party leader and published 
author, who recently won a national literature prize, attended.

In addition to the Chilean delegates, representatives of fraternal parties 
from Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Cuba, China, Ecuador, Greece, Italy, Peru, 
Portugal, Spain, Switzerland and the United States attended the Congress.

Among the issues before the Congress was the election of a new Party 
leadership. Enthusiastic applause greeted the announcement to the final 
plenary session that Marmn had been elected as the new President and 
Guillermo Teiller as the General Secretary.

Close to 40 per cent of the incoming Central Committee members are new, and 
the Congress hall was filled with many young faces.

A tribute to Allende took place at the statue of the martyred President, 
and there was also a ceremony at the Memorial to the Disappeared and 
Executed Political Prisoners.

Party leader Jorge Insunza, whose oldest brother's name is inscribed on the 
wall along with the thousands of others murdered by the Pinochet regime, 
said, "it is very, very hard on us to come here", but "we do so not simply 
to remember the past, but the fight for the present and future" of the 
Chilean people.

The official closing ceremony of the Congress took place at a park with the 
snow-covered Andes serving as a stunning backdrop. Hundreds of Party 
members and friends gathered to listen to music and speeches and to 
celebrate the success of the Congress and the Communist Party.

Marmn said in her speech there, "A new historical moment is being created 
in our country. There is fatigue, there is desperation, but we must be able 
to pick that fatigue and desperation off the ground, to turn it into 
organisation and struggle."

"The most important thing that we want to say is that the people, the 
workers, the farm workers, the fishermen, the poor, the majority in our 
country, can keep depending on the Communist Party.

"The Party will continue to contribute to the organisation and struggle of 
the people, in order to change this unjust neo-liberal system, to keep on 
fighting for a democratic Chile, for every man and women of Chile.

"This neo-liberal, capitalist model, imposed during the dictatorship by 
means of the most brutal repression and open terror, must be changed. This 
model is the cause of the injustices that we all know, the fact that 
economic power is concentrated in the hands of a few very rich.

"Accumulated riches are a crime when, out of Chile's slightly more than 15 
million people, 12 million are living below the poverty line. We need to 
change Chile, change the world.

The time has come for each local area to have a labour union for day-
labourers, temporaries, and the unemployed, because today the vast majority 
of the workers fall into this category. It's time to organise, to 
strengthen the Unified Workers' Central labour federation, to take back the 
democratic tool of the strike.

"We are here to say that Chile is not Chile without the Communist Party, 
because we are part of its history, we are part of its culture, we are part 
if its suffering, and we are part of its happiness.

"Venceremos, mil veces venceremos!"

* * *
People's Weekly World, based on an article in the Communist Party of Chile' s newspaper, El Siglo.

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