On October 18th, 2019, Chile, South America’s poster child of economic success, erupted in massive protests over a price increase in subway fare. Although less than 5 U.S. cents, the fare increase gave way to larger protests about/concerning an economic system that was not working for large swathes of the Chilean population. Decades of persistent inequality, economic precarity, and financial insecurity drove the protests to be some of the largest the region has seen in recent years.
Chileans have had a troubling history with dictatorship, corruption, and violence. Beginning in 1974, a year after General Augusto Pinochet rose to power in a coup that was backed by the United States.
Today’s headlines surrounding Latin America illustrate a continent full of raging protests in Nicaragua, political oppression in Venezuela, and economic crisis’s in countries like Brazil and Argentina. Yet, there lies one country with significant stability compared to its Latin American brethren. Chile, although it encompasses a similar history to its neighbors, including economic instability, socialism, and military dictatorships—persists as a Latin American success story.