Chile: anger and Hunger growing in the quarantine

"If we do not kill the Virus, kill us of Hunger" or "Piñera is more deadly than the Coronavirus" is written on the placards of protesters in Santiago de Chi

Chile: anger and Hunger growing in the quarantine

"If we do not kill the Virus, kill us of Hunger" or "Piñera is more deadly than the Coronavirus" is written on the placards of protesters in Santiago de Chile. The first major protests in mid-may, took place in the municipality of El Bosque, on the southern outskirts of the capital. From there, it spread to more and more district. With spoons, the people on empty cooking beat pots - "cacerolazo" is the name of this form of protest in Chile.

Over 70,000 cases of Coronavirus it is in the middle of may in Chile, the number of daily new infections reached the last record level of 5000. A good 90 percent of them originate from the capital. The municipalities, in which the Coronavirus is spreading the fastest, are the poor and working-class district on the outskirts of the city, such as El Bosque, San Bernardo, Puente Alto and La Pintana.

"The state leaves us in the lurch"

The 31-year-old Stephanie Hurtado is President of a neighborhood Association in the municipality of La Pintana. Again and again it has been there in the last days of the protests. "Many people have lost their jobs. They sell their belongings at the flea market, to be able to buy something to eat," she says. Hurtado lives in a "población", the densely populated poor and working - class district in Santiago called. "The 35 square meters of living between six and fourteen people. For them, it is impossible for the quarantine to be observed. One must always leave the house in order to earn the daily bread and when he infects himself with the Virus, and he's all," she says.

The Protest in the street was the only way to get heard by policy-makers. "We have been asking for a long time, more social rights. The Coronavirus pandemic has exacerbated our Need, and shown us what is the meaning of social inequality. Hurtado has not lost her Job yet, she is a teacher. "Half of my income I spend for food for my neighbors. We need to help each other, because the state leaves us in the lurch."

Many have no income

The government has adopted a decree-law, the company is allowed to suspend the contracts of the employees and to pay them no wages. Unemployment is at the highest value of the last ten years. Add to that a third of the working population in Chile work in the informal sector, so no contract. Many, therefore, have now no income.

President Piñera has announced 2.5 million assistance packages with food, as well as an emergency payment of an average of 100 Euro per household - at a similar high cost of living as in Europe. The support to only the poorest 40 percent of the population.

If it belongs to this part of the population, documented in the "Registro Social de Hogares". But many who have Recently lost their jobs, are not registered. The social welfare offices are either closed or there are long queues, in which there is a risk to contract the Virus.

"There is a new wave of protests because of hunger"

Gonzalo Carpintero and Leonardo Troncoso from the municipality of El Bosque, both around 30, help there, where there is no state help arrives. On their Instagram page, "El Boske Resists" collect donations and buy food for needy families. "We have felt obliged to be active and to help. This is also the case of our movement. It is a solidarity movement," said Carpintero. He added, referring to the protest movement, which since the 18th century. October 2019 in Chile has spread. It is mainly aimed against social inequality in the country, and the neo-liberal economic system that is driven privatisation and the state has reduced in size.

"Now there is a new wave of protest due to hunger. But in the end it is about the Same. Poverty and Hunger were before, but they were hidden," he says. "In the rich neighborhoods, everything is beautiful, because it is like in another country. But here it looks different. Here there are no high-rise buildings made of glass, there are no offices. Here are the people that build these high-rise buildings, and develop the entrepreneurs of money."

The "olla común" - a solidarity-based soup kitchen

Carpintero and Troncoso buy lentils, beans, rice and pasta, which will bring you either directly to the families or to the kitchens of the "ollas comunes", the solidarity-based soup. One of the sisters Caren and Constanza Ponce organize with her mother, family and friends in the Villa El Olivo, in San Bernardo. You can cook lentil stew for 60 people. Normally, you would distribute on the street to eat. "We don't make it, on the one hand, so there are no crowds of people, and on the other hand, the police officers umtreten us the pot, as you have done in other neighborhoods," says Caren Ponce. Therefore, you will be able to fill the food at home in containers, and then bring it to the homeless and to needy families.

The "olla común" has a long Tradition in Chile. Has its roots in the economic crisis of 1929, also in the 1980s, during the Pinochet dictatorship, cooked women in the "poblaciones" for the poor and the workers"The olla común, has its origins in poverty. To date, there are in Chile, poverty and Hunger. With the pandemic that has come to light," says the 24-year-old Constanza Ponce. "We receive no help from the state. The boxes that you show in the television, not arrived here. We are not Rich, the poor help, but we support each other." Her sister adds: "The people helps the people."

author: Sophia Boddenberg

*The post "Chile: anger and Hunger growing in the quarantine" will be released by Deutsche Welle. Contact with the executives here.

Deutsche Welle
Updated Date: 27 May 2020, 07:26

You need to login to comment.

Please register or login.

RELATED NEWS