Chile Faces the Danger of Following in Cuba’s Footsteps

Although they were all fair demands, the way of expressing them through citizen “revolts,” in which the current president Gabriel Boric also participated, left much to be desired / Twitter/Archivo

14ymedio bigger14ymedio, Houston, Jorge Luis León, 15 March 2024 — Chile is a beautiful and vigorous country – I saw this when I visited my Chilean family in 1996 – but the political instability and constant protests that shook the country distorted that beauty. The Estallido Social, a social outburst that lasted from October 2019 to March 2021, has been one of the most violent in recent years. Many say this was the moment of the “awakening of Chile”; others describe the protests as a “big mistake” that weakened the country enormously. For me, the outburst exceeded the limits that Chilean democracy could endure.

The trigger was the increase in public transport rates, later joined by demands for reform in the health and education sectors, as well as with pensions. Although they were all fair claims, the way of expressing them through citizen “revolts,” in which the current President Gabriel Boric also participated, left much to be desired.

The violence covered Santiago and quickly spread to other regions of the country. The “awakening” left about 34 dead, in addition to thousands wounded and arrested. On the economic front, the losses amounted to 3.3 billion dollars, between 100,000 and 300,000 jobs, the devaluation of the Chilean peso and a decline in the country’s economic growth. continue reading

The “awakening” left about 34 dead, in addition to thousands wounded and arrested   

This was the situation when Boric came to the presidency in 2022. His program promised everything that citizens had demanded during the demonstrations: justice, order, increase in the minimum wage, improvements in education and health, and, as a highlight, a new Constitution for the country. So far, nothing seemed out of the ordinary, although the inclusion of several communist politicians in his cabinet raised suspicions.

In the long run, the Administration demonstrated its inability and clumsiness in governing, to the point that 65% of the population disapproves of its management. Nothing has been resolved. On the contrary, new problems have arisen with few solutions, and the Government “advances” blindly in the face of many possible missteps.

One of the scenarios where Boric’s poor political judgment was clearly perceived was the creation of a preliminary draft of a new constitution for Chile, with which he intended to divide the country into multiple nations. Naturally, the proposal was rejected by the Chileans. Weren’t there enough elements to suggest that such clumsiness would not pass the scrutiny of the people? Yes, there were, but a myopic president and an unprepared government team could not perceive them.

This is how things continue in a country that was called at some point, with good reason, the “locomotive of South America.” If this Government does not rectify its course, if it persists in blindly following the continent’s far left, the consequences are predictable: stagnation, poverty and, what is worse, hopelessness.

Let’s look in our own mirror: Cuba, one of the most prosperous nations in Latin America, became one of the poorest. I hope history doesn’t leave the Chileans, like us, mortally wounded.

Translated by Regina Anavy    


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