Dutch Chilean refugees on Piñera’s neo-Pinochetist bloodshed

This 20 October 2019 Voice of America video says about itself:

Soldiers Patrol Streets of Chile’s Capital Following Protests

Soldiers were patrolling the streets in Chile’s capital for the first time since the military dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet ended in 1990, Saturday, October 19.

Chile’s president [Piñera] declared a state of emergency in Santiago Friday night and gave the military responsibility for security after a day of .. protests over increases in the price of metro tickets.

“I have declared a state of emergency and, to that end, I have appointed Major General Javier Iturriaga del Campo as head of national defense, in accordance with the provisions of our state of emergency legislation”, President Sebastian Piñera said.

Translated from Dutch NOS TV today:

Days of unrest and violence in Chile: “My brother and sister protest every day”

The continuing unrest in Chile is hard for the Chilean community in the Netherlands. “My father fled here during the dictatorship. He chose to go back a few years ago. Now he is experiencing the same thing again in Chile. That hurts him a lot.”

Natasha Santana, who was born in the Netherlands, tries to have as much contact as possible with her family members there. When she manages to reach them, she hears about the chaos. “My brother and sister are in the middle of it: they are demonstrating every day. People are afraid that things will get out of hand, but that has actually already happened.”

Natasha calls her sister, who says that nobody believes the government anymore.

The government of the country has declared a state of emergency and there is a curfew. During the demonstrations and riots, at least 15 people died in the last few days and 2500 arrests were made.

The older generation fears that the dark times under dictator Pinochet (1973-1990) will return. According to Maurino Alarcón, also born in the Netherlands, that is certainly not a strange idea. “The repression is already there. Soldiers have been sent out into the street again. Terror and terrifying are also there; shots are being fired. Our parents fear the return of impunity.”

There are an estimated 5000 people in the Netherlands with Chilean passports. The videos and films that they see on social media are by no means reassuring. “We have enough evidence and images of
absolute terror,” says Alarcón.

The public anger is directed against the government and the rich elite of the country. The difference between rich and poor is huge. A price increase of four percent on the metro tickets was the straw which broke the camel’s back.

Santana: “It’s about 30 cents, you might say”30 cents, what’s the problem?” but that is a lot for Chileans. A family lives from 400 to 500 euros a month. While study costs, electricity or a loaf of bread, eg, are more expensive than in the Netherlands. ”

60 hours of work a week

According to the two friends, many Chileans are in debt to be able to eat at all. These problems are very deeply interwoven in the system, says Alarcón.

“We have one of the most privatized countries in the world. Healthcare, education, even nature and water. Everyone but the very wealthy upper class must work sixty hours a week to survive.”

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