By James Blears
Protests continue across Chile, as promised government reforms fail to convince workers, who are maintaining their demands.
Chile’s President Sebastián Pinera has increased the minimum wage plus pensions. But the momentum of anger and unease, stated by a metro ticket price rise, continues to drive a general strike, even though this has now been rescinded. He’s also promised to reduce electricity prices and subsidize major medical treatment.
The silver lining is that Chile’s powerful copper union and its leaders, have agreed to extend talks with the government, and they’re urging an end to the general strike.
Chile is a relatively wealthy nation by Americas standards, but sharp social inequalities bite deeply.
Bishop Santiago Silva Retamales, the president of Chile’s Bishops Conference, is calling for a shared policy agenda while dialogue continues between President Pinera and disparate political parties. Silva says; ‘It’s now necessary to take stock of deep malaise, and everyone should be invited to the dialogue on the Chile that we want.’