Ciclo neoliberal y modernización portuaria (1ª parte)

Al comenzar los conflictivos y rebeldes años ‘80, se inauguraba una segunda ola privatizadora, donde los Chicago Boys finalmente imponían su hegemonía política y su proyecto país al interior del bloque dominante dictatorial. Se implementaron las famosas leyes orgánicas constitucionales; las AFP, las Isapres, el Código Minero, la Ley Orgánica Educacional, etc. Toda la deuda privada de muchos empresarios se transformaba, de manera arbitraria, en deuda pública del Estado. Para pagar esta deuda el Estado recurrió a la venta de muchas empresas estatales, entre las que se encontraba la empresa portuaria chilena. Con esta etapa de reformas se “terminan” de aplicar formalmente los ajustes estructurales exigidos por el FMI y el Banco Mundial, y con ello quedan marcados los trazos originales del actual patrón de acumulación, como también queda sellada esta democracia tutelada y restringida del Chile neoliberal actual.

 

¡Muevan las industrias!

 “Pateando piedras”, como dirían los legendarios Prisioneros, quedaron miles de chilenas y chilenos al ver cómo distintas empresas públicas creadas en la década de los ’50 (con el fin de promover el mercado interno y que habían sido fuente de trabajo e ingresos para muchas familias), cerraban como consecuencia de la apertura al comercio mundial, que privilegiaba, y privilegia aún, el consumo externo de mercancías.

A fines de los años ‘70, diversos grupos económicos comprometidos con la Dictadura consideraban que el esquema de operación portuaria nacional estaba en crisis. La liberalización de la economía había provocado la expansión del intercambio comercial chileno. Para “satisfacer” estos nuevos requerimientos, la Dictadura promulga la ley Nº 18.042, que reestructuraba el sistema portuario estatal vigente, terminando con la operación “exclusiva” de la Empresa Nacional Portuaria-EMPORCHI. A comienzo de los años ‘60, el poder ejecutivo, con el fin de modernizar el aparato productivo del Estado, creó una serie de empresas autónomas del Estado, entre las cuales se encontraba EMPORCHI (dependiente del Ministerio de Obras Públicas), la cual tenía como derecho y labor exclusiva la transferencia, porteo, recepción y almacenaje de cargas, y fijar las tarifas de éstas.

A pesar de esta primera medida, el Estado continuó manteniendo la propiedad de la infraestructura portuaria y la administración de los puertos, sólo que ahora los servicios internos -como la estiba y desestiba, transferencia de carga, porteo y almacenaje- eran realizados por empresas privadas. Así, todas las operaciones portuarias quedaron en manos de privados, lo que significó un menor ingreso para el Estado: se eliminaron impuestos que hasta esa fecha debían pagar los privados, se excluyeron diversas garantías portuarias públicas (como el acceso a créditos con respaldo del Estado, poseer vienen inembargables, posibilidad de exenciones tributarias y de pago de renta por bienes nacionales, y la participación directa en las políticas portuarias), para así asegurar una “libre competencia” entre privados y públicos. Significó también el cambio completo de la dependencia de miles de estibadores, quienes a partir de 1981 se vincularon inevitablemente a empresas privadas y, mayoritariamente, en condiciones de empleo eventual y transitorio.

 

Modernización portuaria pactada

 Durante los años ’90, bajo los gobiernos transicionales de la Concertación (que se había comprometido con la continuación del modelo de libre mercado), los grupos económicos portuarios y navieros comenzaban a considerar que estos cambios efectuados en Dictadura no eran suficientes.

Para terminar con lo que ellos consideraban “el cuello de botella” (que era EMPORCHI), y con el fin de incorporar más capital y gestión privada a las obras públicas portuarias, en 1997 -en pleno gobierno democristiano- se promulga la ley Nº 19.542 de Modernización del Sector Portuario Estatal, que comprendió la formación de diez empresas estatales autónomas. En 1998, a modo de “ensayo”, se licitaron los tres principales puertos de Chile (San Antonio, Valparaíso, Talcahuano-San Vicente) y con ello la historia de EMPORCHI llegaba a su fin. Ese año, entre enero y octubre, la ex empresa estatal desvinculó a un total 1300 faeneros portuarios, quienes desde ese momento comenzaron a regirse por el actual Código del Trabajo: pasaron a ser dependientes de distintas concesiones multi o mono-operadores en los puertos autónomos de Chile.

De esta manera, la administración civil del bloque neoliberal profundizó las transformaciones inauguradas por la Dictadura, abriendo un ciclo de crecimiento económico y estabilidad política que agudizó la desigual distribución de la riqueza, la sobreexplotación de la fuerza de trabajo, la enajenación de nuestros recursos naturales, y el desempleo estructural. En este sentido el trabajo precario, la pobreza y la desorganización de las y los trabajadores, al contrario de lo que se dice, fue y es un elemento constitutivo del crecimiento y del blindaje institucional de esta democracia tutelada. Todo estos elementos son parte de la historia muy reciente de los recintos marítimos– portuarios a lo largo y ancho del país.

 

por Arturo López

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