Chilean Students

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Chilean Students

Santiago, Chile, 2006: During the Government of Michel Bachelet , The “pinguin” revolution erupts. Thousands of young secondary students protest for free school transport pass rate all year long.

The young student Maria Musica throws a jug of water on Education Minister Monica Jimenez, the expectation on the student movement grows stronger and moves quickly, but it was quickly forgotten also.

Santiago, Chile, 2011: Hundreds of young university and high school students return to the streets , this time for different reasons. It is the second year of Sebastián Piñera at the head of the government, but the students had no compassion. The indiscriminate closure of schools , the rate of 6.0% on college credit , bad practices of the particular subsidized education , high tariffs of university education , among others, made the trouble unleash nationwide.

Following this, the student agitation begins. University and high school chilean youth begins to develop creative ways to demonstrate their dissapointment for public education, and demanded the end of lucrative vices on the system. Street protests, flash Mobs, a street race called “1800 hours” consisting on running around the most important government building, “La Moneda”, during 1800 hours non stop. That number represented the amount of money required to cover all education expenses during a whole year. Take over public and private venues such as the ministry of education and some political party headquarters, spoke to us about the real but hidden problems in Chile, and chileans began to open their eyes, including new words to their vocabulary such as ” Profit ” , “Subsidies “, ” credit -guaranteed State, “” demunicipalization “etc., words which were formerly not familiar in the homes of Chile, reinforcing the possibility of extending the information bubble created by the traditional media.

Thanks to independent journalism and websites , social networking played a key role in terms of real-time dissemination of news. Police actions, for the first time since the days of the Pinochet dictatorship, began to be strongly socially criticized and condemned , which caught the attention of the international press. This helped chileans to realize that is not normal for the police to abuse you, it is not normal for you to be beaten on the street and is not normal to repress what you think.

Chile began to be heavily judged by human rights defenders, the images of violence against school and university students where all over the world only after 24 hours of thursday August 4, 2011 , one of the most violent day in Santiago, due to unauthorized protests from Plaza Italia through the Alameda. Parallel to the social disaster in Santiago , the regions were not far behind , and in each one people begin to see the same methods of repression suffered in the great capital .

However, polititians only ignored the reality of Chile, taking useless measures such as increasing only in a few the number of scholarships , renaming a document (LOCE to LGE) changing nothing but the title and lower the rate of college credit , and so on.

However, the student movement now lives and screams louder than ever, the actual right wing government is no more than the return of agroup that did not performed any actions on behalf of the student movement and was never a priority to them.

The beginning of a story that already started, is about to begin.

Text written by Alison Vivanco, Chilean student.