Chile Protests Continue, but Government is Working to Meet Protester Demands
Chile protests continue after beginning nearly one month ago, but the government is showing signs of working to meet demands. The protests began in response to a raise in metro fares as well as a larger issue of income inequality. For instance, Chile suffers the third worst rate of income inequality out of all countries in the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development). Specifically, in Chile 1% of the country’s population owns nearly 50% of all wealth.
However, Chile President Sebastian Piñera says the government is “responding to the demands of the people through action.” First, the government signed a new bill where “anyone whose income is less than $350,000 (Chilean Pesos) but higher than the minimum wage of $301,000 will receive a State subsidy that brings their income up to [a] 350,000 minimum.” Then, Minister of the Interior Gonzalo Blumel announced the government has “agreed to start the path to move towards a new Constitution”. Now, the Ministry of Finance has revealed that Congress reached an agreement on budget reform for 2020. The budget will allocate “an automatic increase of the Basic Solidarity Pension (a form of Social Security in Chile) of 20%” ; will “lower the public transport rate for 60% of the most vulnerable older adults in the country” in the form of “a 20% subsidy”; and, “Fines and interests of [individual’s student debt] will be forgiven”.