Chilean Students on Hunger Strike

15.08.2011 - Santiago - Pía Figueroa

But today, when Chilean students make use of the same tool of struggle, the immense support of the masses does not awaken, rather on the contrary, sadly, they don’t even receive visibility in the press, and their colleagues find it difficult to help them.

The indifference, the insensitivity and the lack of solidarity with the 31 Chilean students currently on hunger strike for their education is truly lamentable.

What we know is that almost at midnight on Saturday the 13th of August, the secondary school students of ACES Buín indicated they had had enough in front of governmental vacillations and took the collective decision to progressively radicalise their movement. So, in the coming days they decided to start a total hunger strike including all liquids.

Already one of their colleagues of 17 years of age has had to abandon the hunger strike for being diagnosed with anaemia and has had to start treatment to reverse the problem immediately.

Those on the Support Committee for Students on Hunger Strike do not believe that even one student should be part of a strike, neither refusing liquids, nor solids, but subject to disjointed ethics such as these, in front of silence and indifference, they have opted for action and solidarity.

They inform us that at the moment there are 31 students on hunger strike in the country: 20 in secondary school and 11 in university. In the Metropolitan Region there are 4 from Buín, 4 from the Liceo Darío Salas and 3 from the Liceo Experimental Artístico. On the Chillán site of the University of Bio Bio there is one student. In Temuco, there are 9 students from UFRO, 4 from the Andrés Bello Law Faculty and 5 from the Medicine Faculty, at the Catholic University in the same city there are 3 strikers. In Castro there are 5 secondary students on hunger strike and 4 in Quellón.

Even if the ambiguous and laid-back attitude of the government is a result of its social and political nature, it’s sad to see this other, much more painful and profound, silence: that of the citizens. Social, political and cultural organisations that, until now, have neither expressed their outrage nor their solidarity in the face of the fact that more than thirty young people are on hunger strike and that they are simply “looking the other way”, reminds us of that phrase of humanists: “Indifference is also violence.”

On Wednesday it is one month since the start of the first protests of this kind and with only a much reduced group of the strikers’ colleagues sustaining the effort to denounce, to inform and to maintain a certain level of public attention.

In front of this new situation of liquid hunger strike that is planned to take place in Buín, it seems more urgent than ever to support and to give encouragement to these young people who also take it turn to man a stand for gathering signatures every day in the entrance to the Casa Central of the University of Chile. Here they speak, raise awareness and receive donations of serums, mineral water and isotonic drinks for the strikers. Anyone who wants may take a turn, help others to be informed, make a gesture of solidarity and break the fence of apathy.

Categories: International, Politics, South America

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