Bristolatino stood in solidarity today with the Chilean people. The following text is a statement written by the Asamblea de Chilenxs, an organisation created by Chilean workers, students and academics living in Bristol. They were giving them out during the demonstration today, spreading the word about the current social movement which has exploded across the country.
Currently Chile is living a militarised repression not seen since the end of the Dictatorship in 1990. Almost the entire territory is under a state of constitutional exception, i.e. the military has taken over control of public security, imposed curfew, and suspended key fundamental freedoms. This situation has led to reports of serious violations of human rights, such as arbitrary imprisonment, tortures, sexual violence, and prohibitions to free movement, among others.
Recent mobilisations were triggered by an increase in the price of public transport in the capital city of Santiago but reflect structural inequalities that go far beyond. In a context of widespread business collusion and tax evasion, criminalisation of indigenous communities, corruption scandals in the army and police forces, low wages and pensions, privatised water and the establishment of environmental sacrifice areas, we understand these protests as a legitimate response against a systematic abuse of power, denial of social rights and commodification of basic aspects of life, such as education, healthcare, housing, transport, and natural resources among others.
Chile might seem a distant country, but the current uprising is the result of decades of neoliberal policies which only reproduce appalling inequality. Chileans’ struggles can be linked to worldwide struggles such as those in Ecuador, Lebanon or even here in the UK, which is suffering the slow privatisation of the NHS, and the closure of the parliament.
Today, 24 of October 2019, when Chile goes through a general strike against the repressive measures taken by president Sebastian Piñera, we wish to express once again our support, gratitude and solidarity with the Chilean people, who have gone to the streets to protest against the effects of an unfair and unequal socio-economical model.
We repudiate the militarisation of life and its politics of death. We firmly condemn the deployment of the armed forces and the restriction of civil, political and social liberties of Chilean citizens, which incite more violence and anger amongst the population. We demand the immediate end of the state of constitutional exception and the withdrawal of the military forces from the streets.
We support and encourage the people’s fair demands for a change in the current neoliberal political-economic model, which has created socioeconomic, gendered, racial and socioecological inequalities.
We demand the replacement of Chile’s current constitution written and enforced during Pinochet’s dictatorship. We believe that the new constitution should be the product of a real collective and communitarian effort which should entail the real participation of every agent and social movement in the country.
” ¡ AGUANTE CHILE SIN MIEDO!”
Photo credits: Isaac Norris