Hey USA: I Live In Chile, And My Country Is Exploding

Another reason Chile’s presidents never truly addressed the country’s record-breaking inequality was the implicit promise by the political right that if anyone tried to pull any “commie” shit, they might go all Pinochet on our asses again. And this year they finally did it.

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

In response to the massive protests, President Sebastian Pinera (a tycoon with a well-documented history of corruption who got elected with some help from fake news) enforced a curfew for the first time in decades, and sent in the military to repress demonstrations. The score so far: 23 deaths, 1,600 civilian injuries, 7,000 arrests, dozens of blown-up eyeballs, and accusations of rape and torture. The armed forces slipped back into berserker mode like it was a comfy old blanket they were supposed to throw away, but never did.

The sight of soldiers kicking people’s teeth in on the streets is stirring memories of the ’80s in the Chilean psyche, and not in a fun Stranger Things sense. But there’s one big difference from those days: Everyone has a camera in their pocket now. (WARNING: The news report below contains shocking images and indecipherable accents.)

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Some protesters have also been violent, but that’s what you get when you create an entire class of people with nothing to aspire to, nothing to lose, and therefore nothing to fear. Did you see that video of a protester tearing a water cannon off a moving police truck like he’s possessed by the Hulk? The internet thinks it’s awesome, but I find it sad. That right there is someone whose life sucks so much that he doesn’t give a shit if he gets squashed by a heavily armored vehicle or thrown in jail forever. (OK, it’s a little bit awesome.)

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

On November 7, Pinera promised to dial up state surveillance, beef up intelligence agencies, “modernize” police forces (presumably with adamantium water cannons), and crack down harder on protesters. It was a message tailored for Chile’s terrified elites, who are Olympically avoiding any kind of soul-searching by blaming everything on an international communist conspiracy. Did the commies pay off those hundreds of students who spontaneously decided to protest the subway fare? Did they create the Area 51 meme? Did … did Che Guevara invent memes in the first place to orchestrate everything?! Seems like a way simpler explanation than “We lived large at the expense of poor people for decades, and now they’re a bit upset.”

Continue Reading Below

Advertisement

Anyway, if Pinera’s polarization strategy works and he’s able to weather these protests without actually addressing the root issues, the problem will continue to fester until more protests inevitably explode again. And at this rate, the next ones will probably involve guillotines.

Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile. Uh-oh.

For more, check out The Most Confusing Moment In ‘Joker’ Has Been Explained and A Movie’s Resurrecting James Dean Using CGI, For Some Reason.

Also, we’d love to know more about you and your interesting lives, dear readers. If you spend your days doing cool stuff, drop us a line at iDoCoolStuff at Cracked dot com, and maybe we can share your story with the entire internet.

Follow us on Facebook. And we’ll follow you everywhere.