Biggest March in Chile’s History against Showcase ‘Model’ of Global Neoliberal System
Oct. 26, 2019 (EIRNS)—At least 1.2 million people marched yesterday in Santiago—the capital of Chile whose population falls just shy of 7 million—against the still-reigning “Chicago boys” economic system imposed on the country by the bloody Pinochet dictatorship in 1973. With smaller marches held simultaneously in most cities, there were easily more than 2 million Chileans on the streets yesterday, out of a total population of some 18 million, demanding systemic economic change.
A million Chileans marched in 1988 against Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s attempt to establish himself as ruler for life. Now, Chileans are demanding the economic model the City of London and Wall Street installed him to enforce be buried as well. Every banker in the world understands that this is no “Chilean” matter, but a mass rebellion in the country held up around the world as the financiers’ model for “success.”
Lyndon LaRouche’s EIR ran a cover feature in its July 21, 1995 issue headlined “An Obituary for London’s Chilean Economic Model,” which documented that the so-called Chilean “success story” was a genocidal fraud.
The giant march was entirely peaceful. The only thing burned was an effigy of the Interior Minister Andres Chadwick (the President’s cousin) to start the march off! Whole families participated, from every walk of life and age, waving Chilean flags and proclaiming that “Chile has woken up!” People carried handmade signs; typical of those signs: “I Fight Today for My Grandchildren and the Children of Chile.”
The spontaneous character of this mass strike was seen in the fact that there was no institutional viewing stand, no final act with speakers. People dispersed before the government’s curfew, and went back out today for “cultural protests” across the country (a popular song, “The Right To Live in Peace,” is being played widely). Planning has begun for another mega-march next week.
President Sebastián Piñera now apparently has decided that his best shot to restore control before international leaders arrive for the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) meeting in 16 days, is to make himself out as a protester, too. He tweeted last night that “we have heard the message. All of us have changed,” after “the multitudinous, happy and peaceful march today, in which Chileans have asked for a more just Chile, with more solidarity.” In a short address to the nation this morning, he urged Congress to quickly pass a package of economic concessions (raising workers’ wages, improving healthcare for seniors, lowering electricity rates, raising taxes on the well-to-do, etc.). He announced that all his cabinet ministers had been asked to submit their resignations.
But the country’s constitution is still the one imposed under Pinochet, and its wildly-privatized economy is in the hands of international speculative interests. Notably, Piñera did not immediately lift the state of emergency, under which the carabineros and the military have been deployed in force against protesters. He said that “after talking with the armed forces ... if circumstances allow,” it will be lifted after 24 hours on Sunday, Oct. 27.