Neoliberalism vs. The People of Chile
According to the WSJ, the government of Chile is being unfairly and irrationally undermined by an international socialist konspiracy.
Yet no one expects Argentina’s center-right, if it loses, to go rampaging through the streets, burning cars, stealing, blocking roads and destroying public transportation. That kind of politics is the specialty of the left. It has been on display this month in Chile, where left-wing terrorists savaged Santiago and cities around the country with violence.
He's right. The neoliberal center-right rarely riots.
That's because they don't have to. If the neoliberals need to inflict some violence they can always use the police and military (and often do).
Thus the neoliberals can keep their hands clean. At least according to the media, which are unable to see who is giving orders.
As for those terrible left-wing terrorists, just look at them savage Santiago in this tweet with their brutal guitar music.
— Érika Ortega Sanoja (@ErikaOSanoja) October 26, 2019
The central government already subsidizes nearly half the public transportation fare in Santiago.
Yes, it seems incredible that public transit should be subsidized at all, amirite?
It's almost as if some people take the world "public" seriously.
The Chilean right has largely abandoned its obligation to engage in the battle of ideas in the public square. Mr. Piñera isn’t an economic liberal and makes no attempt to defend the morality of the market.
Except for when they were torturing and murdering leftist dissidents, they made no attempts at defending capitalism at all.
To chalk it up to spontaneity requires the suspension of disbelief. As one intelligence official in the region told me Friday: “It takes a lot of money to move this number of people and to engage them in this level of violence.” The explosive devices used, he said, were “far more sophisticated than Molotov cocktails.”
Foreign subversives are suspected of playing a key role, with Cuba and Venezuela at the top of the list...The actual list of assailants, we don’t know. But Chile has been hit by a well-organized enemy out to bring down the democratic government.
You forgot to blame Russia!
More than a million people are out protesting, and all left-wing popular movements are konspiracies. Because everyone knows that the working class loves vast inequality and austerity almost as much as it loves to grovel before the master's carriage.
Wow. As the helicopter flys over Santiago, Chile, people appear to stretch for more than a mile.
— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) October 25, 2019
Young, old, poor and middle-class, protesters said they were united by frustration with the so-called neoliberal model that has left Chile with region-topping prosperity along with a widely criticized private pension system, and two-tiered health and education systems that blend the public and private, with better results for the minority who can afford to pay, protesters said.
Many Chileans talk of waiting a year for an appointment with a specialist, or families receiving calls to finally set up appointments for loved ones who died months earlier.
...“The whole constitution makes me angry,” said Alan Vicencio, a 25-year-old call-center worker. “The constitution allowed the privatization of every aspect of our lives and it’s being doing it for more than 30 years.”
To show how much the ruling elite cares about the concerns above, assistant secretary of health care networks Luis Castillo suggested people show up early to health centers to socialize while waiting to be seen.
According to polls, 83% of respondents said they supported the goals of the demonstrators, while just 14% support Chile’s billionaire president Sebastian Pinera. 80% of Chileans did not think his reforms were adequate.
The richest 1% of the population holds 33 percent of the nation’s wealth, which make Chile the most unequal country in the OECD.
Just a few days before the riots broke out, Piñera claimed Chile was “a true oasis within a convulsed Latin America.”
When the demonstrations broke out, the right-wing government reacted in typical fashion - an iron fist.
The subsecretary of the interior, Rodrigo Ubilla, declared—on Oct. 17, the day before the widespread unrest—that “this is delinquency, purely and clearly.” “We are going to be absolutely firm and clear with prosecutions,” he said, announcing that wrongdoers would be prosecuted within the penal system. One might have thought he was addressing the occasional acts of vandalism that took place during the fare-dodging protests. Not so: He meant all the protesters. That same day, right-wing politicians presented a proposal that would increase the penalties for fare evasion to up to 480,000 pesos (about $660).
Hundreds have been shot by police and at least 19 have been killed. None of that has mattered to the ruling elite. The only thing they respect is power, and the fact that the working class refuses to give in, is power.
The lack of empathy and compassion in Chile by the ruling class is even worse than in the United States.
The lack of basic medical treatment for the largely working-class victims of gunshot wounds was notable inside Posta Central, as staff described shortages of supplies in the public health facilities and emphasised the gulf between services at this run-down structure and the gleaming private clinics just 10km away.
Patients at Posta Central were dying, workers said, due to the lack of basic supplies, including surgical gloves, syringes and masks...
One professional recounted a recent incident in which a patient at Posta Central had died. The doctor turned and walked to the charts. A detail on the patient’s chart shocked him: the patient was married with children. Surprised, he turned around and said to a colleague: “Oh. I thought he was indigent.” The lack of empathy for working-class patients is reflected in the attitude of the health minister Jaime Mañalich, who on national TV mocked the upheaval as just “a march” and who has repeatedly sabotaged attempts to record the number of gunshot wounds inflicted by security forces.
In both 2016 and 2017 students protested for reforms, and in both cases they were answered by tear gas.
Back in 2016, Marcelo Correa, spokesperson for the national students’ group CONES said, “If they do not listen to us we will give it everything we have got.”
They didn't listen, because they don't respect the working class. Now the ruling class has a real problem on their hands.