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It’s not for 30 pesos, it’s for 30 years!


During the autumn of 2019 thousands of chilean people were demonstrating non-stop in most of the cities in the country. What at the beginning appeared to be just a student protest against the rising of the price of the urban transport ticket (30 pesos, about 0,037 of a euro), became instead the switch of a massive people’s movement able to paralyse the country and showing all the rage of chilean people towards the government and its 30 years of neo-liberal policy, which produced a huge gap between classes and increased deep social inequalities. Indeed, the ongoing social protest in Chile reveals old roots. At the centre of the protest there was the Chilean constitution, wrote in 1990, just a couple of years after Pinochet’s regime was definitely removed by a popular referendum in 1988. Instead of modify laws towards a more open and democratic way, in order to improve a new social system after 18 years of dictatorship, the power detained by a restricted number of people (most of them heritage of the same dictatorship) was instead established and renewed. Within the years the new-liberalism policy imposed by the constitution and confirmed by all the following governments was totally absorbed and set on practice, allowing the privatisation of the basic social structures as health, education and pensions, while the main mineral resources like copper and lithium were sold to foreign multi-national companies. Water and its control are also detained by a restricted number of retailers, effecting on the the entire distribution and price, the highest in Latin America. Wherever in the country people are still now on the streets asking for real structural reforms and an equal distribution of richness, in a country where salaries are deeply unfair and pension rates the lowest in the world. After 30 years of lies and abuses the social protest in Chile shows the political resilience of a population tired of a tyranny never really ended.

Brigada Salud

The people’s protest in Santiago continued harder. Since more than two months, every day thousands of people try to reach the symbolic place of the “revolution of the 30 pesos”, Plaza Balquedano, re-named by the protesters “Plaza De La Dignidad” (Dignity Square). In these days of non-stop clashes between protestants and police, many people decided to give their help to protestants who have been hit or wounded by carabineros. Most of them are para-medic or nurses, other are just medicine students, but there are also normal citizens who want to help their own people from the unconventional kind of weapons often used by carabineros during the hard clashes in Dignity Square. Formed spontaneously during the first days of the protest, they are now an essential part of the protest, respected and clapped by people on the street while patrolling the front-line between carabineros and protesters. Many of these safe points were created close to the clashes points of the Dignity Square and attract every day by more and more young people in order to help, because they believe that “Dignity is the first step to build a future”

Demonstrations are going on all over the country, from the extreme north desert to the southern territory of Patagonia. But there’s a place more than anywhere else where the “Revolution of 30 pesos” shows directly all the intensity and the hardness of the social clash. In Santiago, the capital, every day a large number of people move towards the city centre, in order to reach the old Plaza Italia, now renamed “Dignity Square”. While trying to occupy the square and its surrounding, clashes between demonstrators and “carabineros” become here a usual procedure, often out of control of both sides, producing each time several serious wounded, deaths in worst cases.  The “carabineros”, also publicly sponsored and legitimated by political impunity, are using extreme violence against protesters, often using unconventional weapons and shooting directly at the face level. Hundreds of people have lost one o both eyes after being intentionally and directly targeted with rifles. Cases of abuses, rapes and tortures are reported daily. Despite the continuous intimidations and the high level of danger while facing the carabineros, people are still fighting fearless, as they strongly believe in the right of dignity in chilean people’s life. “They stole everything from us, even fear” this is the unique voice of the people of Dignity Square.

©2019 by Massimo Sciacca - All rights reserved

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