Chile: A Shaken Country
The right-wing government in Chile follows the crest of a wave of unrest in a country with lofty macroeconomic balances, but with dividends concentrated in the wealthiest sector of the population, while most people try to subsist on very little.
While it is not easy to exceed the indicators of protests in 2011 when there were more than 6,000, they have also been repeated in 2012 for rejecting the conservative administration of President Sebastián Piñera.
The main reason for the rallies and protest marches are located in the deep inequality in income distribution in Chile.
Note that 10% of richest Chilean families have a per capita income 78 times higher than the poorest 10 percent.
It is said the existence in Chile of seven wealthy families to amass a fortune of 75 billion dollars, i.e., three times the GDP of neighboring Bolivia.
One of the cardinal reasons of this inequality lies in unfair access to work, to the point that poor families have an unemployment rate much higher than those of the middle class.
Moreover, poor households have very low incomes, unlike what happened in the homes of the more economically benefited.
To this dichotomy inherited from Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship was later heightened by Piñera’s government conduct, which rewards some and forgets the others.
According to his opposition, Piñera sharply promotes with his decisions to the business sectors and relegates Chilean groups with lower income.
In Chile, where a legacy of tyranny is still fragile and the space for unions and the effective right to strike is still limited, many are fearful to show their faces to those in powerful positions, who openly confess their nostalgia for the Pinochet era.
As Pinochet did, market economy is applied in Chile today, a term that is reflected in attempts to make the educational system more inclusive, for instance.
Chileans are proud of their brave young leaders who called for a public debate about issues of quality and unequal education.
In the country where Pablo Neruda and Violeta Parra harvested glories, the cost of a public university education can reach 9,000 U.S. dollars with the consequent obligation of students being in debt forever.
With delays in the reconstruction after the earthquake and the criteria endorsed by 77% of the citizens of that growth only benefits the wealthy, Chile remains intoxicated with vociferated macroeconomic successes.
The neo-liberals and big business representatives like to try to show Chile as the great shopping window, without seeing the broken glass.