Since last Friday Chile is witnessing a social explosion which started with an increase of the public transport ticket. The social unrest is the result of the increasing inequality in that country which suffered from dictatorship and moved to democracy with changing the fundamental of neo-liberal policies. These policies consisted in privatization at all price, denying public and social services, access to housing, to health services and social protection in general. Private pension funds invest in and speculate with capital instead of insuring social protection schemes for workers. Although many OECD studies put Chile on a high ranking position, the reality of growing inequality and unequal distribution of wealth was not part of the indicators.
Like in similar situations it needs only a minor act, like raising the transport ticket, to unleash violence nourished by the feeling of exclusion and the experience not to be able anymore to afford the ordinary life. The answer of the right-wing government is not astonishing: for the first time since the end of the dictatorship tanks and military are beating the street of Santiago and other major cities. Instead of attacking the root causes of the unrest the focus is in the violence when Pinera is declaring “the country is in war”. In the war with itself, yes. In war on want, on increasing disparities which are hidden in the trade and economic growth statistics which are so welcomed by narrow-minded economists. The risk of a "civil war" is very high when the government responds in this way. This call to the military forces to control the order does not take in consideration the symbolic weight of a measure like this in Chile.
SOLIDAR calls for an immediate end of the state of emergency and call on all democratic and social forces to defend the democratic institutions by proving that they are able to find answers on people’s need and develop a political alternative to martial law or even, the worst-case scenario, of a return to an authoritarian military regime.