Al Jazeera: Eric Farnsworth on Chile's Vote to Replace Its Constitution

"This really seemed to be a celebration of democracy," said the AS/COA vice president.

Eric Farnsworth, vice president of AS/COA, spoke to Al Jazeera Insider Story's Imran Khan about the Chilean referendum to replace the country's dictatorship-era constitution. Farnsworth explained that the vote was handled freely, fairly, and without violence. "This really seemed to be a celebration of democracy," he said. "Almost 80% of the people voted in favor of change and clearly this is something that has been a long time coming in the Chilean context." 

Farnsworth said that for many years, Chile has been seen as a model for Latin America in economic and democratic terms. He said it was "easy" to vote for change, but the question was what type of change would come. He called the process of writing the country's new constitution, "a Chilean issue for Chilean citizens, a strong democracy, a sovereign nation," adding that, "From the U.S. perspective, we can be supportive of the democratic process."

"If the Chilean people can pull this off in a way that updates the constitution, does so according to a democratic process freely and transparently and comes out on the other side satisfying most interests in the country, that will be a tremendous success as Chileans work out their democracy from generation to generation," said the AS/COA vice president.