Protests in Chile by Leasette Leon

In mid-October, as I was finally adjusting to my new life here in Chile, a mass movement of protests began. These protests first began by a group of high-school students, due to the rise of the metro prices, which was labelled as “Evade”. However, this was only the spark that lit the fire. These protests have now become a national movement for social change. These manifestations have been conducted all throughout the country, especially in Santiago, which is where I live and attend school. When the protests first started, President Piñera declared the country under a state of emergency, and sent the military to the streets. For almost a week, we were under a military curfew, or “toque de queda”, where one could not leave their house, according to the specific curfew. As I spoke to my host family and other Chileans, they told me that they have not seen anything like this, since the military dictatorship in 1973 under general Augusto Pinochet. Although, these manifestations may be alarming, the media often fails to share how peaceful they can be. However, I believe it is more important to understand why they are happening in the first place. These protests have been conducted due to the high levels of inequality that exists in the country. Chile is a rich country, that holds many of the words most valuable resources. Although, the wealth of the country is only in the hands of a small percentage of the population, while the majority of the people do not benefit from it. During the military dictatorship, a new economic model was implicated, or better said neoliberalism. This had led to most enterprises in Chile to be privatized, where Chile now holds the most privatized education system in the world. It is almost impossible to obtain adequate living conditions, education, healthcare, since most industries are privatized, and the wages of these individuals are insufficient. Evidently, these protests are occurring for multiple reasons, but the root is the economic model that persists in the country. Currently these manifestations have not stopped and will not stop until change is made. These social movement is called “Chile Desperto”, or Chile woke up. 

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