Eyes of the Occident

Olga Zolfievna Suleymanova, Staff Writer

Many a nation state have erupted into insurrection. Hong Kong is well-covered but Chile, the one most applicable to us, is mostly a footnote. Why?

In Chile, protests have broken out against the economic policies of the current government, policies that have not changed since the time of Pinochet’s dictatorship. Pinochet came to power in the 1973 US-backed coup against Chile’s democratically-elected socialist government, after which he established a fascist military dictatorship with hard capitalist economic policies. After 40 years of staunch free market policy, the people had enough. Privatization of water, primary schooling, secondary schooling and other things along with unaffordable housing, healthcare, higher education and especially transportation compounded into revolution. An increase of 3000 CLP(4 USD) in train fares, especially, are the trigger for mass demonstrations in the capital, Santiago, but it soon spread to the rest of the nation, infiltrating every facet of society.

The students and workers of Chile started these protests on October 14 with peaceful demonstrations. Unfortunately, things turned violent fast. Riot police came in and beat the protest, who in turn threw molotov cocktails and started looting. Soon the current conservative President Pinera and his government took notice and drafted legislation to cancel the train fare hikes and some social reforms, like increasing the minimum wage, but insurrection continued. The Chilean people saw this for the bandage on a three inch gash that it was. They continued marching in the streets, and they orchestrated general protests all in spite of police beating, blinding and torturing them.

They are in all out revolution against neoliberalism, the system the United States and, to a lesser extent, other western nations, vouched for. Using the CIA, America forced this system onto Latin America and wreaked havoc over the region. Years later, Chile is in full resistance-resistance that is in our backyard. This is something that could trigger mass change in socially and economically unequal America. Hong Kong’s protests over the encroachment of the Chinese “Communist” Party on their freedoms are nowhere near as applicable to Western material conditions.