During the last days, the people of Chile have mobilised in the face of the perceived injustices in the conditions that exist to live in the country, considering that the state is not guaranteeing their basic rights even when Chile is considered one of the richest country in Latin America.
Last Friday, the underground subway increased its price by US $ 0.041, exceeding the cost of the New York subway. While the figure is insignificant, this situation is the peak of the iceberg for all Chileans who see how the powerful of the country are getting richer at the cost of abuse and exploitation of the people.
The problem is a deeply unfair economic and social system, implanted in blood and fire by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet in 1973. Just a spark, the increase in the passage of the subway, was enough to trigger an earthquake. It is an extremely hard neoliberal system imposed in dictatorship, everything is privatised and the market takes over everything (profit). It is a system that produces great benefits for the elites and powerful groups, but after 30 years of democracy it has led to social unrest.
If you wonder why people are so angry, here are some facts:
- The President of the Senate of Chile has an income (diet + allowances =US$41.305) that is higher than what the King Juan Carlos of Spain receives.
- The senators have self-allocated US$2.753 for "dissemination of activities in the field" indefinitely, when they already had an income of US$20.652.
- Electricity costs twice as much in Chile as in the rest of Latin America.
- In Chile the economy has grown steadily but by paradox poverty is increasing. Who gets the money?
- The Chilean ex-presidents receive about 30 thousand dollars a month, they are earning more than the former US PRESIDENTS.
- Private health in Chile is 3 times more expensive than in Germany. Public health is in crisis; doctors and staff are not paid salaries, there is a lack of medication, long waiting lists, and other problems.
- The State has given tax relief of more than US $4.000 million to big companies during the last 10 years, but charges large fines to small businesses that do not pay taxes. The president evaded US $41.271 in taxes.
- Banks and financial institutions charge interest in the order of 47% per year. If we were in Europe, all their executives would be imprisoned for usury.
As if these facts were not enough, Chile has the worst education system in South America and is one of the most expensive in the world so students must borrow for life to get a university degree. The health system does not have the minimum conditions to meet the needs of the population. The pension system is in crisis, an average pension corresponds to US $400.00 per month. Salaries are low and the cost of living is similar to that of Spain. Chile is also one of the countries in the world where water is private, among other things.
The government's response to the recent social unrest has been to consider the social movement as an enemy and take the military to the streets decreeing a state of emergency. It is foreseeable that these types of situations occur, given the inability of the government to respond to the demands of society. Because of this, images representing a clear abuse of force and a violation of Human Rights have circulated through the media during the last days, where both the police and the armed forces address the situation on the streets with indiscriminate beatings and shootings.
The latest reports indicate that 5 regions of the country are in curfew and with military in the streets. There are 15 people dead and more than 2,000 arrested. The last declaration of the President Sebastián Piñera: "We are at war against a powerful enemy, who is willing to use violence without any limits".
Even so, people are not afraid, they don't run away, they do not give up, quite the contrary, they unite and get strength from the depths of their convictions and ideals. They are tired of being abused by an unfair system, they are tired of government arrogance and this time they will not be crushed.
And they are sure that the way forward is the union of the people because "the people united will never be defeated".El pueblo unido jamás será vencido!