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  • Writer's pictureJacynthe Boudreau

Dignity of CHILEAN People: 8 Requests

Chile was until recently a country recognized and admired in South America, a model of economic stability , of functional neo-liberal structure , constantly named as an example. Until October 19th, 2019, when President Sebastian Piñera decreted a state of emergency to reduce the protests of the people against unequal economic in the country. The return of military on the street and curfews just acted like oil on an already burning fire ... In a short resume, we explain the straw that broke the camel of a Chile in search of dignity.

Since the return to democracy in 1990, Chile has been structured, stabilized and grown, becoming an international tourist destination. The overall cost of living has been increasing in recent years, making the country one of the most expensive in South America. Unfortunately, wages did not rise proportionally for its foxs, and for several years, they have been asking several social benefits from government to leave precariousness.

On October 17, the government announces a CLP$ 30 increase in the value of Santiago Metro. This increase is resisted by secondary students who initiate a massive evasion of payments to the subway, skipping validators and inviting via social networks to follow the movement. With the passing hours, this answering action is increasing.

Unexpectedly, the protest took on a massive and national character, without party flags, without political colors. Unexpected and surprising union of Chileans around issues of dignity and inequality for unresolved years such as transportation, health, salaries, education, retirement and the constant rate increases in various services that end up deteriorating the quality of Life of a large majority.

Civil disobedience is generated throughout the country, with pockets of violence generated by small anarchist or drug-related groups that take the government on October 19 to decree a State of Emergency in the main cities of the country and install a curfew.

Sebastian Pinera, the current president , thought to regain control by putting a military control of national security on the streets, but to his surprise, people decided to maintain its peaceful meetings (usually) playing pans in all cities of the country. On the other hand, certain groups, extremist, have decided to act ignoring the curfew, burning and pillaging some of the large private or public companies representing inequality of resources.

Currently, the government has changed the tone and has proposed a series of modifications on some of these issues, but the people continue to insist that it is not enough ... the Chilean Revolution continues.

To understand what the Chileans ask when they go out in the city hitting their pans, here is a list of some of the main demands focused on an 8-point proposal (with some facts):

1.- Decent pensions:

The basic pensions at this time are $ 110,000Clp / month, equivalent to ± 150USD / month, an amount that does not allow survival in Chile; the minimum wage at this time is $ 320.000Clp / month = ± 440USD / month.

* This pension system called AFP has been in effect in Chile since 1982, and is currently completely delegated since it was found that Administrators generate large profits of their own but miserable pensions for retirees. In 2013 a “No + AFP” movement arises that battles the elimination and change of the pension system in Chile.

AFP (Pension Fund Administrators).

2.- Education:

For many years alreaddy, people is asking for free universal quality education. In few words, better quality, less costy and with no gain allowed to the industrie of education.

3.- Public health system of quality and accesible :

An improvement in public health services, more hospital supplies and more medical specialists are required.

4.- Rights for Native People:

The main claims can be grouped into four categories: jurisdictional autonomy (proper law), the recovery of ancestral lands, economic-productive freedom and the recognition of a cultural identity.

* In recent years we have had cases of violent actions against the Mapuche movement: example Maldonado Case, Murder of Rafael Nahuel and Crime against Camilo Catrillanca

* The Human Rights Committee denounced the criminalizing practices against the Mapuche social movement in its observations on the Chile report in March 2007. In this regard, it urged the Chilean State to modify the anti-terrorism law.

5. Constituent Assembly / Modification of the Constitution:

Chileans are asking for a democratic and participatory mechanism to modifies rules and standards of living in a space for dialogue to assure deap changes.

* The current Constitution was drafted by the government of the military dictatorship of Agustin Pinochet (1973 - 1990) and entered into force in 1981.

During the democratic governments, a series of modifications have been made without changing certain fundamental aspects rejected by a large amount of people.

6.- Deprivatizate Basic services

In Chile, general transport, water and electricity are in private hands, and are requested to return to state control.

* In 1998, under the mandate of Eduardo Frei, a law was passed that allows the participation of the private sector in the management of Chilean waters.

* Today, Chile is the country with the largest privatization of water in the world.

* Unusual data on the privatization of water: In 2007, the Canadian Pension Fund Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan reached the majority percentage in the ownership of the company Essbio (one of the 7 owners of the Chilean waters).

7.-Nacionalization of Natural Resources:

Especially copper and lithium, a key product in the era of technology.

8.- Criminalization of Corruption:

Injustice is perceived considering cases of collusion and corruption of politicians and large companies. Sanctions and treatments or much more severes for small acts that for what is called: ¨Theft of neck and ties¨.

* Since the return to democracy, Chile has brought to light several scandals , fraud and misuse of information related to politics , big business and some branches of the armed forces.

Example: caso Chispas: "the business of the century"; caso Inverlink, LAN shares, caso Penta, case Caval,: pharmacies, chickens, among others.

Those are some requests of the people that are being heard after many years of silence. National demonstrations that united their people suddenly and that will change Chile deeply.




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