Nieuws - 7 november 2019

Meanwhile in… Chile

Julia Schafer

A rise in public transport prices sparked mass protests and riots in Chile at the beginning of October. Hundreds and thousands of people have expressed their discontent about inequality and the cost of living in the country. At least twenty people died in the violence and hundreds were injured. The UN climate summit that was to be held in Santiago has been moved to Spain.

‘Reports by Chilean television channels and newspapers currently focus on the protests and associated violence. I miss coverage on the problems the country is facing and discussions about necessary changes. I am careful what media I use to follow the developments in Chile. I receive a flood of information every day, much of which is fake news. I filter the inf

ormation, but sometimes I do not know what to trust. The repression by the government is too strong at the moment. Even peaceful protests are immediately supressed by the police. One example is a non-violent group of pre-school teachers who were attacked on the streets with a water cannon.

Jorge Vega Briones, an MSc student of Earth and Environment from Chile, reflects on recent events in his home country.

The discussion is polarized and there is no dialogue. I am glad to see that people have started to organize themselves into groups where they talk about what needs to change in society. They try to make suggestions to the government in other ways than protesting. For example, they produce documents resulting from brainstorming meetings. I also see many surveys on social media these days with questions about how content people are with the government.

It feels strange to be so far away from my country in these times

It feels strange to be so far away from my country in these times, with the feeling that I cannot do much. I am worried and feel stressed because of the situation. My sister once went outside during the curfew to help somebody and I was concerned that something would happen to her. I think it is a pity that the climate summit in Santiago was cancelled because I think Chile needed it. We need discussions about natural resource exploitation since inequality in the country is directly related to this issue.