There is no doubt that these last few days have been difficult, uncertain and agitated for Chileans. It is not only a security issue, not only a matter of unsatisfied social needs or of long-contained discomfort due to abuses that corner the lives of millions of people and their families; I believe that this is something more than that.
A few years ago, Chile was an international reference for having achieved an exemplary transition from dictatorship to democracy, and also for being able to reduce poverty like no other country and achieve growth in the nineties like very few economies in the world. They came from all over the world to study what we were doing, and several even dared to copy some ideas. Was all that a lie? No, the data is there for all to see, and the development of the nation and the families that live in it, we have been experiencing it in the last decades.
However, the issue is the price at which this growth process was generated. Chile adopted a market and individual model, which took over the different spaces of social life. This not only made us become a country where we have to pay for absolutely everything, and where the private sector surpasses the public sector in areas where the State should be the main guarantor, such as health, medicines, education or transportation.
In an individual model, this was reflected in the culture, in social interaction, and we lost our identity, we are no longer from the neighborhood, nor from the church, nor from the political party or the sports club, now we are what we can have and show; if what we want we cannot achieve materially, it does not matter because access to debt became the path to social mobility, with usurious interests and systems that drown families, but that allow them that dream of improvement that was offered to them, and that each one bought freely, consciously or not (there is some shared responsibility here, I think).
Thus, in this context there are many things that make us angry. Transportation fares, especially for families earning the minimum wage, with poor quality services for the most part (the exception was once the subway), where one saw daily assaults, situations of overcrowding in the transfer, long travel times, etc.. In the case that the person made an effort to buy a car (with a huge tax in a country where most of those who have one make a great effort to buy it), then we find that about half of the price of fuel is taxed and we must pay for the use of roads, but also for the highways that have taken over the city, offering less and less options for some journeys, raising again and again the cost of living of people and their families. This is repeated in education, health, medicine, food, etc, etc, etc, etc.
Personally, up to that point there is discomfort, but when one sees that all these taxes and abuses end up in cases of theft of public funds, abuses and misuse of fiscal resources, collusion of companies that sell us products of basic necessity, or “fixed whiskers” for over-indebtedness or excessive charging of commissions for things that in many countries are worth zero pesos, all that is heating up, because the cost of living becomes higher and higher, All of this is heating up, because to be robbed once is annoying, to be robbed twice is annoying, to be robbed every day is annoying, but to be told to your face that it is nothing, that it is okay, that this is the way things are, that you have to get up earlier or work harder, is a mockery. There is nothing more violent than denying the emotional needs of another person, and we have lived that for years. But be careful, not between the authorities and the citizens or from the businessmen to the workers, but with each other on a daily basis. Here I do not believe that there are good guys and bad guys, we have all contributed by action and omission to a situation that is no longer bearable.
Personally, I strongly reject violent methods of demonstration. Many say that it is more violent what has been done in our country with its citizens. Even though I may agree on some of these points, I do not believe that violence is the mechanism to respond. We must find a social-institutional way to channel this and turn chaos into opportunity. After the curfew it cannot be that we have nothing left, no reflection, no learning, no decision.
I personally strongly reject violent methods of demonstration. Many say that it is more violent what has been done in our country to its citizens. Even being able to agree on some of those points, I do not believe that violence is the mechanism to respond. We must find a social-institutional way to channel this and turn chaos into opportunity. After the curfew it cannot be that we have nothing left, no reflection, no learning, no decision.
Personally I am not so afraid of vandalism and violence, because most of those who commit and promote it are the most cowardly, they are the first to run away when the police arrive or to ask to be treated with cotton wool when they are arrested, they are nothing like the real social fighters in the history of Chile and the world, those who were doing what was necessary where the chips are down, there are no more Gladys Marín or Clotario Blest, people willing to die with their boots on for what they think is just (whether one agrees or not).
What really worries me is the authority, a silent government, that at times seems to govern with youtube tutorials, that improvise and do not understand, that say they listen to something they do not know, that say they regret what they have never really felt. I am concerned about the slowness, the lack of leadership, the lack of clarity. If the President had what it takes he would know that after “touch” what is left is the opportunity to move forward as no other government did in the last decades, that today no one has the support to refuse what is really necessary. Today the chaos, the unrest and the protests (many of them in peace and with a sincere desire for things to improve) are the support that neither this nor the previous President managed to have at the polls, it is the agenda and the government proposal that can really make a difference and tune in, because it was not made in the upper class neighborhood or in a hotel where the night costs more than a minimum wage, but they come from the pain and indolence of needs that need to be addressed, the real ones, not those of the usual opportunists, but those that affect the neighbor, the nanny’s family, the teacher who does not want to destroy anything, she just wants to live better and calmer.
Today the opportunity is enormous, until now I have not seen a leadership that allows channeling this. Piñera has not been, I have doubts that he will be, but I hope he becomes the leader he is not, because the country requires it and the context deserves it, so that after so much touching we have a tomorrow that encourages our dreams and awakens the desire to have renewed hopes.