For more than 10 years the town of Los Caimanes in Northern Chile has sustained a struggle against the installation of a tailings-dam by Minera Los Pelambres, a subsidiary of Antofagasta Plc, serving nearby and expanding copper and gold mine. Resistance has brought residents into conflict with some of the widest-spanning economic interests in Chile: those of the oligarchic Luksic family. The case is part of a series of resource conflicts that have gained national attention.
Center-left coalition leader and former Chilean President Michelle Bachelet looks for a second Presidential term, focusing on themes of inequality, universal education, and tax reform. But have lessons been learned from the previous coalition terms?
More than 100 environmental, social and indigenous organizations protested Monday in the Chilean capital to demand that the state regain control over the management of water, which was privatized by the dictatorship in 1981. “Our main demand is the repeal of the water code that is denying us the right to have water to live,” said Teresa Nahuelpán, an activist with the Movement for the Defense of the Sea in Mehuín.
Many Chileans are asking themselves what kind of energy future they want for their country. As the growing nation faces higher energy demands and prices. Government officials and business leaders have long seen the HidroAysén Dam project as the ultimate solution to expand the country’s electric grid, but the project has met met with fierce, sometimes violent resistance from student protesters in Santiago and residents of Chile’s Patagonia.
“The social earthquake of 2011, the student movement, is becoming a political tsunami. We see it in the rise of new leaders and different visions,” said Noam Titelman, the president of the Student Federation of the Catholic University. One symptom of this “tsunami” is the growing politicization of movements.
More than 400 social organizations from Europe and Latin America and the Caribbean will gather on Jan. 25-27 at a Summit of the Peoples called as an alternative to the bi-regional meeting of heads of state and government to be held at the same time in the Chilean capital. […]
For more than two decades, Mapuche indigenous people in the Chilean region of Araucanía have been fighting the construction of the Ruta Costera (Coastal Highway), a mega-project initially conceived during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) which has already caused significant archeological and cultural losses and damages.
“We are not only facing a political battle, but also an ancestral one, because the Mapuche community is fundamentally anti-capitalist,” said Millaray Huichalaf, a young machi of the Roble Carimallin sector. “That’s why any manner of organization is dangerous to this system. Today, we are rising up with clear conviction, with a political, social, and spiritual foundation, as an entire community.”
Chile is estimated to have one of the highest abortion rates in all of Latin America, but one of the strictest anti-abortion laws in the world. Abortions are banned under all circumstances, including saving the woman’s life, forcing women to seek abortions outside of the law—with varying levels of safety. Since its launch in 2009, the Chilean Safe Abortion Hotline has received more than 10,000 calls, up to 15 a day. Women call from all over Chile to learn about the correct dosage and administration of misoprostol, and information on abortion law and legal rights.
Ariel Dorfman’s Feeding on Dreams: Confessions of an Unrepentant Exile (HMH Books, 2011) is an eloquent memoir which fluctuates between reflections on death and exile – the meaning of not having died next to Chilean President Allende during the 1973 military coup, and the consequences of Dorfman’s own exile, a decision enforced by Allende’s advisors and which very possibly saved his life from the deadly machinery of the Pinochet dictatorship, but which has assailed Dorfman with a tenacious need to question his own role and actions within that particular era of Chilean history.