Chilean crisis: How to return to «normal» if the blood hasn’t yet dried

Report by Cecilia Ananías Soto and Karen Vergara Sánchez,
journalists from Amaranta NGO.

Translation by Cecilia Ananías with the support of Natalia Bórquez and DeepL.

Main photo: Kena Lorenzini.

This article was written on Tuesday, October 29 and we are counting the crisis since Saturday, October 19, when different cities of the country joined the mobilizations. However, the protests began the day before in Santiago.

Ten days ago, social discontent in Chile erupted in the form of screams, pots and pans and barricades, mobilizing millions of people. It was thus that «the jaguar of Latin America,» as Chilean economists in the 1990s described our country, took off its mask, revealing that it was only a place where inequality accumulated under the carpet, in the face of the passivity of its inhabitants and the blindness of its authorities.

The mobilizations exploded with tremendous force, before an astonished Government, being qualified by the First Lady, Cecilia Morel as «something alien». The first response from the authorities was to declare a state of emergency and bring police and military forces onto the streets, in direct confrontation with the protesters, who were victims of gunfire and strong repression by the Chilean police, Carabineros.

Less than three days of state of emergency had passed and the president himself, Sebastián Piñera, affirmed that it was «a war», even if the enemy only held signs, spoons and pots. The balance of this decision: 20 people killed (information corroborated so far), more than 3,500 people detained, 1,100 people injured, according to information from the government and reports from the National Institute of Human Rights, until the morning of Tuesday, October 29. In addition to these figures, the Children’s Ombudsman indicates that 19 children and adolescents were hit by pellets, 18 were victims of physical damage and more than 240 were detained.

But that did not stop the mobilizations: in spite of the tiredness of the continuous marches and the fear and anguish of the repression, on Friday, October 25, it was possible to call for the largest march in Chile, which gathered more than 1.2 million people, only in the capital; a scenario that was repeated in regions and cities throughout the territory. The streets were overflowing with protest, in postcards that will go down in history. This proved that, in spite of the continuous attempts to criminalize the demonstrations, they continue to be representative of the unease that afflicts all Chileans: the profound need for a dignified life, where every social right isn’t privatized. The mobilizations have been described as the most summoning after the plesbite that ended with the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

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The «oasis» became a Dictatorship: Repression, murders and torture mark the protests for a decent life in Chile

Report of the journalists from NGO Amaranta, Karen Vergara and Cecilia Ananías.
Translated by the lawyer Natalia Bórquez and Cecilia Ananías.

Chile «is a real oasis with a stable democracy», said President Sebastián Piñera at the beginning of October in the «Mucho Gusto» program of Mega -a national channel-, after being consulted about the crisis that plagued Peru and Ecuador. Only ten days after pronouncing this phrase, the protests that broke out in Santiago and then became widespread throughout the territory made it clear that the oasis was nothing more than a mirage. 

Although the protests began with calls from the students to avoid paying the Metro ticket, given a new price increase, it has not been the only demand for a long time: «It is not for 30 pesos, it is for 30 years», they exclaim in the streets. Seguir leyendo

Santiago, Chile: State of emergency decreed due to manifestations for the cost of living

Written by Karen Vergara Sánchez, journalist and member of @AmarantaONG

Translated by the lawyer Natalia Bórquez and the journalist Cecilia Ananías, members of @AmarantaONG.

Original version in Spanish in Marcha.Org.Ar

The protests started with more strength on Tuesday 15. Dozens of young students between 13 and 17 years planned mass evasions in the Santiago Metro, in response to the increase in the price of the ticket and also manifesting a discontent, shared by the population, which reveals the precariousness of life and inequality in the country.

Chile, which in 2016, according to World Bank studies, became the seventh most unequal country of the world, was incubating a general unease that also responds to the increase of unemployment and repressive policies of President Sebastián Piñera and his cabinet, which has constant controversial statements that this week finally ended up exhausting the patience of the inhabitants of Santiago.

This is the case of the Minister of Economic Affairs of Chile, Juan Andrés Fontaine, who expressed to the media, on October 7, that “those who gets up early, will be helped”. With this phrase, he was urging people to get up before 7 in the morning, so they could take transport before the time of higher demand, which is more expensive. This statement ignores the fact that those who live in the periphery already get up at 5 or 6 in the morning, to travel around 3 hours to work

In addition, the Minister of Finance of Chile, Felipe Larraín, responded to the increase of the cost of living saying «well, those who want to give flowers this month, the flowers price have fallen 3.6%,» unleashing the outrage of the citizens. Days before his call to “pray” to revive the economy draw also the attention.

On the other hand, the broad national approval of the project who seeks to decrease the workday from 45 to 40 hours per week, raised by the deputy Camila Vallejo, had demonstrated the weariness that was beginning at home. Traditional television and the media were filled with shameful surveys of businessmen and government politicians pointing out their absolute rejection of the idea. Today, Chile is the fifth least productive country according to figures from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and one with the longest working hours. Seguir leyendo