The nation of Chile is “at war” – or so says the president Sebastián Piñera as a wave of protests has swept the South American country for the last week. Piñera has declared a state or emergency, calling in the military, and putting in place curfews, including the capital Santiago – curfews which the protesters have rigorously ignored. The military has used water cannons and rubber bullets – but also live ammunition. At least fifteen people have so far been killed, with reports of widespread arrests and even disappearances. It is the worst period of violence seen in the country since protests in 2011, and perhaps even since the waning days of Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship in the 1980s.
To discuss the crisis James Robins, The Big Q’s managing editor, is joined by Walescka Pino-Ojeda, an Associate Professor at the University of Auckland, and the Director of the New Zealand Centre for Latin American Studies.