Cuban Photographer Captures Social Unrest in Chile

Photo Feature by Ruber Osoria (Rusle) 

Texto: Women Muralists Brigade, from the Fiofio Region, Wallmapu, Chile

HAVANA TIMES – Social unrest exploded in Chile a week ago throughout the national territory. We are in Concepción, BioBio region about 600 kms. south of Santiago, the capital.

The mass protests were triggered by the rise of the subway fare in Santiago. The mobilization was started by the secondary school students, who massively evaded paying the new subway fare, igniting the simmering rage from what many citizens consider so many abuses and the precariousness of life.

On Saturday, October 19, the demonstrations arrived and stayed in Concepción, we have already been mobilized for 5 days, 4 of them under a state of emergency and that implies, that there is a curfew, in which, there is a portion of the day totally in the hands of the Military, who have impunity to use weapons of war against protesting civilians. This Santiago subway fare increase was only the tip of a political-social problem existing for more than 30 years, a process begun under the Pinochet dictatorship that imposed a neoliberal economic structure based on the fiercest type of capitalism validated by the 1980 Constitution.  Supported by the United States it was based on the indebtedness of the working class. Health care, housing, education and the pension system were privatized.  

This “shock doctrine” under the military dictatorship (1973-1990) was used as a social control methodology based on infringing pain, trauma, suffering and fear in the entire population, and thus promote obedience to a brutally violent system with all beings within its reach. Here, this violence has a face and is visible in Transnational extractivism, associations of countries or alliances of international economic power, which have looted everything that emanates from the southern part of the country: wood, minerals, forests, rivers , the seas, lakes, food, agriculture, seeds, identity. This exploitation of the land is to supply the excess of this unbridled consumerism of Europe and the United States.

As a result of these bad decisions of the State, the current government of Piñera and its criminal, capitalist and patriarchal alliance, is that the people rise in response, generating organized demonstrations, where spontaneous expressions such as the looting of large conglomerate companies take place, such as Wallmart, CencoSur, Sodimac, among many others. These being “looting or acts of mass recovery, more symbolic than harmful, since they are insured, after fires generated by the military themselves in the name of the State and thus continue with the economic agreements between them.

Anger is unleashed and people on the streets ask for the resignation of the President and the change of the entire social political structure inherited from the Pinochet dictatorship.  In response to this social disobedience, Piñera sends the military into the streets to suppress any manifestation of rage demanding major change.  

Thus far unofficial figures quantify the repression in the following: 42 dead, 12 women raped, 121 missing, 2600 detainees, thousands of tortured, Source Inter-American Commission of Human Rights.

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Vedado, Havana, Cuba. By Arlene Greaves (Trinidad and Tobago). Camera: Nikon D3300

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