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Chile protests shine light on economic inequality

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22.10.2019

During the era of Chilean dictator Augusto Pinochet, the slogan "we are doing fine, and tomorrow we will be doing better" (Vamos bien, mañana mejor) became a kind of profession of faith in the country's neoliberal economic system. Both the slogan and the belief in neoliberalism are apparently still popular among Chile's privileged few — a view no longer shared by ordinary Chileans. They have taken to the streets of the capital, Santiago, and other cities in droves to express their anger at the country's severe economic and social inequality. After all, many Chilean families are seriously struggling.

Within just a few days, Chile has transformed from an oasis of stability into another Latin American flashpoint. The vehemence of the protests — which have lead to violence, deaths and vandalism — have come as a shock and must be condemned. Chile's government, meanwhile, has failed to find an adequate response to the most severe unrest ever since the country returned to democracy. Last Friday, when several Santiago metro stations were already engulfed in flames, President Sebastian Pinera celebrated his grandson's birthday at a pizzeria as if everything were in order.

Read more: What's behind wealthy Chile's deadly protests?

DW's Emilia Rojas-Sasse is an expert on Chile

Out of touch government

Apparently, Pinera had not grasped the severity of the crisis — and neither had his interior minister,........

© Deutsche Welle