Sunday, June 30, 2013

Protests in Brazil and Chile

Patricia Rey-Mellén asks at Salon whether Chile will be next after Brazil with regard to national protests.

Student revolts became viral in 2011, and have continued at a low intensity since then. For the first time now, other sectors of society have joined in the cause. Copper miners protested in Calama, north of Santiago, where they blocked Chuquicatama, the biggest mine in the country. Similar events happened in El Teniente, south of the capital. In the coastal towns of Talcahuano, San Antonio and Valparaíso, fishermen kept over 2,000 boats on shore.

The dynamics are different from Brazil. In Chile there is a well-defined protest movement that has been around for several years that is trying to spread, whereas in Brazil it is almost the exact opposite, with a quickly mobilized and ill-defined movement that has already spread.

What Chilean students need to do, then, is to attract more people with their own grievances. This gets more difficult when the protests are violent, though in both Brazil and Turkey it can help if the state is seen as the more violent partner--at least right now, though, I don't get the sense that Chileans believe that yet.

There is an electoral difference as well. Today Chileans go to vote in presidential primaries, and they will have to address the protests directly. Michelle Bachelet is the favorite, and is popular, so her political job will be to pre-empt those connections. Rest assured she has been watching Dilma Rousseff closely to see what seems to work and what doesn't.


Anonymous,  10:45 AM  

I'm curious, what about protests in Argentina? Given the cacerolazos we saw before, that would be my first guess for where we see protests. I'd be interested to hear your take

Greg Weeks 5:44 PM  

I don't have any major insight, other than that there is no specific spark in Argentina, a particular incident that spreads. Plus, expectations in Argentina are much lower than in Brazil.

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