Protester in Chile, (Danahe Oñate Flickr CC license)

Massive Protests are Leading to a Political Crisis in Chile

What began last week as a protest against a fare hike in for the Santiago, Chile metro system has morphed into a broad social movement against increasing economic inequality in the country. And it has been violent. So far, at least 18 people have been killed.

From an international perspective, these protests are coming at an inopportune time. Santiago is hosting the next major global climate change conference, COP25, in early December. And prior to that, in mid November, the city is playing host for the APEC summit on Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation.

Needless to say, the government of Sebastian Pinera is coming under increased pressure to address the concerns of the protesters. But as my guest today explains, so far the actions taken by his government have really only exacerbated this ongoing crisis.

Estafania Labrin Cortes is a Chilean reporter for the newspaper The Clinic. When I caught up with her from Santiago on Wednesday October 23, protests were still ongoing.

We kick off this conversation discussing the series of events that lead to the spontaneous eruption of nationwide protests. We then have a longer conversation about what is driving increasing inequality in Chile — indeed it has one of the highest degrees of wealth inequality among the world’s major democracies. As Estafia Labrin Cortes explains, this is partly due to legacies from the Pinochet dictatorship in the 1970s and 1980s.

If you have 25 minutes and want to learn what caused these protests, how they spread so quickly and learn some of the broader international implications of this crisis in Chile, have a listen

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