Violence in Chile

Violence In Chile:

It began as a protest against underground prices - now the people of Chile are rebelling against inequality and exploding costs: Eight people have been killed, and relaxation is not in sight.

It is burning in Chile. Flaming street barricades, burning supermarkets and factories.

As the government reacts with repression and sends 8,000 military and armoured vehicles to the streets, people are just getting madder.

In the capital Santiago, in the cities of Valparaíso and Concepción as well as in La Serena and Rancagua, but also the cities further away from the centre, there were violent riots on the weekend.

By Sunday night, at least eight people were killed, five died in a fire in a clothing store in the northwest of the capital. Within a few days, the apparently so stable South American model country is out of control.

What began as a protest against the increase in prices for the subway in Santiago, has turned into a general rebellion against the precarious living conditions in the neoliberal land.

Anger over high electricity and water prices:

People are frustrated and angry about exorbitant electricity and water prices, low wages and salaries, lack of health and safety at work, expensive retirement plans and high rents.

Add to this the increasingly prohibitive food and high school and Unigebühren. According to research, a large part of Chileans does not have enough income to pay all their monthly costs.

According to the National Bureau of Statistics (INE), half of the workers earn 400,000 pesos (504 euros) or less.

The costs of many services, such as electricity, water and gas, internet and motorway tolls are at the level of European countries.

Public transport is also very expensive. According to a study by Diego Portales University in Santiago, Chile's system is the ninth most expensive of 56 countries studied relative to per capita income.

This explains why the increase from 800 to 830 pesos (from around 1 to € 1.04) per ticket caused such a rage.

This long-accumulated annoyance has been discharged in recent days at subway stations, directed against supermarkets and government buildings that were attacked, looted and set on fire.

The damage to the infrastructure amounts, according to initial estimates, to at least 200 million. All over the country, young people have erected burning barricades.

Supermarkets were closed on Sunday and flights were cancelled at Santiago International Airport.

The teacher can not turn on the heating - too expensive:

For the second night in a row, President Sebastián Piñera imposed a curfew on Santiago and other cities.

This was last done in 1987 during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet (1973 to 1990).

But even on the night of Monday they ignored many people again and made their anger with the so-called Cazerolazos, the "pot beating" air.

The protests have long since affected the whole society. What began as an uprising of the students is now also borne by workers, teachers and employees.

Even in the upper-class districts of Santiago, such as Las Condes, the inhabitants of Cazerolazos took to the streets.

The teacher Cecilia Quidel can understand the anger of her compatriots: "Life has become so expensive in recent years that the money for many people does not reach the end of the month".

Quidel, who earns 800,000 pesos (1009 euros), often sits in her cold house in the Quilicura district in winter because she can not afford to hire central heating, "impossible," she says, "the costs would explode".

Gasoline, city highway tolls, food and electricity have skyrocketed over the past three or four years.

"We feel abused by the big companies that raise prices, how much and whenever they want," the 56-year-old criticizes, "the state just looks on."

The export is booming - but only the rich profit:

Since returning to democracy in 1990, Chile has been the most economically and politically stable state in the region.

The Andean-Pacific country has consistently opened up to the global economy and is now considered the most reliable and competitive state in Latin America,

Equipped with modern infrastructure, free trade agreements with tens of states and trade relations with Asia, Europe and the United States.

The export of copper, wine, fruit, salmon, cellulose and wood is flourishing. However, the economic model that dictator Pinochet left to the country remains valid.

Chile is still the neo-liberal paradise, where the state has privatized almost everything, giving companies a free hand, requiring little tax and allowing multinational companies to exploit natural resources.

According to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean, the wealthiest per cent of Chileans has over 26.5 per cent of national wealth.

Violence In Chile

President Piñera, an entrepreneur himself and one of the richest Chileans, thinks this is fine and has little understanding of the needs of the population.

Given the increase in Metro ticket prices, his cabinet said in a first reaction, then people should just go to work earlier in the morning when the time-staggered tariff is even lower.

Two major events are in the balance:

Meanwhile, the head of state is increasingly unsettled and perplexed in the face of popular anger. "We know that the protagonists of the protests have a degree of organization that can only spring from a criminal organization," he said Sunday night about the people on the streets.

Piñera fears not only for the image of his country but also for hosting two major international events. In mid-November, the summit of the Asian-Pacific Economic Community (APEC) will take place in Chile. Two weeks later, the world climate summit should follow in Santiago.

And despite repression, there is no relaxation insight. This week, students from the University of Chile and health care workers want to strike. Subsequently, a general strike should follow. The signs are still on the storm in South America's model country.


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