The situation in Chile becomes more complex with the passing of days. The intense popular mobilization that began with the protests against the increase of the Santiago subway fare resulted in massive mobilizations throughout the country, as a popular reaction against the government of Sebastián Piñera and the neoliberal model that prevails in that country. The slogan that best synthesizes popular sentiment is “It’s not 30 pesos, it’s 30 years”.
The government’s response was, from the beginning, maximum repression. A teenager who was shot, numerous wounded and dozens of arrests were the result of the first day of protest. From the beginning, without any call for dialogue, Piñera’s government decreed a state of emergency, a curfew and ordered the army into the street. Photographic and audiovisual documents abound that show the most ferocious repression of peaceful public demonstrations, as well as the criminal actions of the security forces firing firearms at unarmed citizens, raiding and arbitrarily detaining citizens, journalists, without adherence to the slightest procedure of respect for human rights. The figures speak for themselves: 23 people dead, 38 wounded by firearms, more than 500 wounded, 23 serious assaults, 30 wounded with eye trauma, 8 children wounded, 5485 arrested.
It is, without a doubt, a political crisis that evidences the authoritarian character, of total disrespect to the minimum principles of democracy, on the part of the elite that directs the government in Chile, which acts under strict attachment to the mandates of the elite of the economic and political power of the United States. It is also an expression of the continuism that exists between Pinochet’s dictatorship and those who hold power today in Chile: the same methods to impose the same model.
The current crisis reveals, with equal forcefulness, the unequal, excluding, exploiting and precarious character of Chile’s political and economic system, putting an end to the media image that has been built of this country as a model of prosperity and well-being. The most exploited and excluded sectors of Chile have exploded, they have said enough, and have generated a chain reaction that includes other sectors of the country, as well as multiple expressions of international solidarity and activism to break the media siege and make known the truth, not only of the current political crisis and the repressive response of the government of Sebastián Piñera, but also of the social reality of the Chilean people.
Thus, faced with the depth of the political crisis generated by the magnitude of the social outburst, in order to lower the pressure and preserve the constituted order and the neoliberal model, the Chilean government has announced a set of palliative measures that imply only a minimal expansion of the classic social containment measures foreseen as part of the neoliberal model. Just as the Chilean power elite repressed in a bloody manner, it will do what is necessary in political and economic terms to guarantee its continuity in power. The possibility remains in the hands of the Chilean people, of their social and political organizations, of beginning with the social explosion, to give shape to a strategic perspective that allows for a change of model, the political and democratic overthrow of the elite that governs and oppresses the Chilean people in favour of their interests as elite and the interests of the transnational forces of global economic power. The multitudinous peaceful mobilizations that have taken place in recent days, and the perspective synthesized in the slogan #ChileDespertó, allows us to conclude that, after the initial outburst, there is strength and basis to advance in that direction.
From Venezuela we express our absolute solidarity with the brother people of Chile and our willingness to support and contribute, from our modest capacities, to the difficult struggle for their liberation and for the construction of a just and democratic Chile. Many are the ties that have historically united the peoples of Chile and Venezuela, and deep down is the example of the socialist democratic revolution led by the eternal Salvador Allende, who has been the inspiration and strength to build, to advance, to resist.
Today, other peoples of the continent are rising up. Not only Chile has said enough. Haiti, Honduras, Ecuador, Argentina, Mexico, are standing today, struggling in different ways to reopen the paths of rebellion, prosperity, unity and integration that we need to confront the determination of the economic and political power elite in the United States to retake political control of the entire continent according to their interests. Bolivia, Nicaragua, Cuba and Venezuela also continue to stand, resisting, fighting to preserve and deepen our revolutions, confronting the fiercest aggression of those American elites.
Let us remember the last words of Salvador Allende, which today apply not only to Chile but to the continent as a whole and to humanity:
“It is a determining hour in our history as peoples. The peace, democracy, sovereignty and prosperity of Latin America is at stake today more than ever. Let us fight that battle together and united. The unity, solidarity and integration of our people is the key. Workers of my homeland, I have faith in Chile and its destiny. Other men will overcome this gray and bitter moment in which betrayal seeks to impose itself. Keep on knowing that, much sooner rather than later, the great avenues will once again be opened where free man passes, to build a better society”.