“How dare you?,” Greta Thurnberg said at the UN to those responsible for the planet’s environmental situation, angry, impotent, belonging to the generation that will inherit a world collapsed in its sustainability. She was coming to Chile to participate in COP25. Her clamour also resonated in the young Chileans who no longer tolerate environmental deterioration, nor the social conditions in which the country lives, a place where the neoliberal model has been better implemented, where everything is a market, where even water is private.
That same rage and impotence raised a clamour among the Chilean students who first jumped over the turnstile of the entrance to the Metro, forming a spontaneous movement of young people for the evasion of payment in transport, spreading to adults and leading to the most forceful social overflow in the history of the country.
The weariness was expressed and became the collective awakening of a people. The system defended itself by repressing it.
It has been 13 days of unstoppable protests, with gigantic demonstrations, occupation of spaces and squares in all regions, marches, pots and pans demos, truck strikes and highway blockades, in addition to looting, fires and violent expressions of popular anger. Vandalism or organized action, we do not yet know, burned down stations and subway cars. For their part, the police forces have killed, wounded, raped, tortured and arrested many people. Twenty people have died, including a four-year-old boy. And more than a hundred have irretrievably lost an eye by being shot in the face.
This happens in a place that has memory and where it has been repeated tirelessly, for the last 30 years, that “never again in Chile”, that we will not torture anyone again, that we have to learn the dramatic teaching that the military coup left us. And yet the battle has been pitched, the police force ruthless.
Today a group of parliamentarians has presented a constitutional accusation against the former interior minister and announced that they are preparing for the next few days a similar accusation against President Piñera, for his responsibility in human rights violations.
While the great majority of the population continues to mobilise and demand a new social agreement, for a Constituent Assembly that will allow for a new Constitution, the President has resolved to cancel the APEC here, which was scheduled for mid-November, and the COP25 in December, since Chile does not have the minimum conditions to receive anyone.
Greta will surely never get to know this neoliberal model nor will she have the opportunity to exchange with her generation, those brave boys who demand dignity. A complex future awaits her and all of them, which requires a new paradigm, a different way of organizing society, because this system and the free market are like a suit that for humanity is becoming very tight and there is no way to continue patching it. It will be necessary to transform the way of living in society so that progress belongs to all and for all, so that we can overcome all the different forms of violence, allow the full development of each human being, and also reverse the enormous damage that has already been produced.
Translation Pressenza London