The greatest political and social crisis that has faced Chile since the return to democracy in 1990, which has left at least 20 dead, has pushed the president Sebastián Piñera in an unpublished decision: Chile will not be the host or the Forum of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) in November, nor of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP25), in December, two international meetings of major to be attended by important world leaders.
Piñera reformulates his Cabinet with the popularity on the floor of The inequality mobilizes Latin America
in announcing his decision from The Currency this Wednesday, the governor said that the Government was taking this measure “with deep pain”. “We feel, and we deeply regret the trouble and inconvenience that this decision is going to mean so much to the APEC as for the COP. But as president of all the chileans I have always put the problems and interests of the chileans, their needs, their desires and their hopes, first in the row,” said the representative.
The announcement comes almost two weeks after the outbreak of the protests, which began by the fare increase of the metro of Santiago, but which reveal a deep sense of frustration of the population that feels the margin of development of the country over the past 30 years. The protests have not stopped. Piñera announced a package of social measures and the Monday changed his Cabinet eight portfolios, including those of his political team and the economic. But it has not been enough: the demonstrations continue to journal as much in Santiago as in the rest of the main cities of the country. The peaceful, who are the majority, but also the violent with immense capacity for destruction. According to official information from the Executive, along with the 20 dead, the demonstrations have left 473 civilians injured, 745 carabinieri, police officers and members of the Armed Forces wounded, and only between the 20th to the 27th of October, 9.696 detainees, of which 389 are kept in pretrial detention and 778 were declared illegal detentions. The Ministry of the Interior has filed 228 complaints.
Crisis of popularity
For Sebastian Piñera, who won the elections of 2017 with the promise of better times, both economically and in terms of security, the suspension of the summits of APEC and COP25 represents a direct hit. Even before the outbreak, the president seemed particularly focused on his role as international: Chile was the impeller in September the Alliance of the Climate-Ambitions that are committed in Paris in the 70 other nations in plans with powerful, cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.
Both the forum APEC as COP25 would be events where Piñera was expected not only to receive to great world leaders, but to position itself on the global scene. But the plans of the chilean Government is aguaron in one day to another. Although the distance between citizens and their democratic institutions affect all political sectors -which explains in part the difficult way out of this crisis, the president and his Administration are located in the centre of the discomfort. His popularity is in the soil, with a 14% support, the lowest since the return to democracy in 1990.
The announcement of Piñera occurs 17 days of the start of the forum APEC. Had committed their attendance, among others, the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. Russia, however, announced Tuesday that its president does not attend and to send in their representation to another high-level official. The president of the united States, Donald Trump, was another of the heads of state confirmed, that he planned to sign with the chinese leader Xi Jinping in Chile, a trade agreement between the two countries. “I know that I have some difficulties at this time, but I know the chileans and I am sure that they will be able to solve it”, had indicated a few days ago the american, when he had already exploited the crisis in Chile. But their presence in the country would have been a provocation, in the midst of the complex situation facing Chile as matches from different political groups.
A country that is far from recovering public order, despite the fact that they have lifted the states of emergency and curfews, it was also not able to receive the thousands of environmental activists who would come up to the climate summit that would be held between 2 and 13 December. At the summit, which would draw representatives from 293 countries, it was hoped the visit of the Swedish Greta Thunberg.
A blow to the image of Chile
“it Is a blow for the foreign policy of Chile, but it was predictable in that they had recovered the social peace,” says Heraldo Muñoz, a former minister of Foreign Affairs in the last Government of the socialist Michelle Bachelet (2014-2018). “One thing is the desire to perform these two meetings, but [the suspension] was what had to be done. The citizenship he would not have understood the expenditure of resources on both summits when there are so many social priorities”, indicated Muñoz, president of the opposition party, the PDP. “The emergencies of the country are in a social agenda, internal and in a new Constitution,” he says.
Of the 136 stations of the metro network of Santiago, 118 are damaged. 25 were burned and seven trains burned. The destruction of the underground, that are daily transported to 2.8 million users in the capital, until now it is estimated at us $ 376 million and it will cost months to replace a normal operation. Citizenship has been expressed in a peaceful manner, as demonstrated in the mass concentration of last Friday, only for Santiago managed to gather 1.2 million people to ask for more equity on all fronts: education, health, pensions among other demands. But the looting business premises and the destruction in public infrastructure and private across the country are still incalculable. On Monday, when Pinera announced his change of Cabinet, a few streets away from The Currency groups of violent set fire to a shopping center on the Alameda, the main artery of the city.
While the Communist Party and the Broad Front of the left seek to promote in the Parliament a charge constitutional against Piñera with the goal to dismiss him, the Government is facing accusations of excessive use of force, torture and killings by the police and the military. The minister of Justice, Hernán Larraín, acknowledged Tuesday that “there have been situations that appear to be violations of human rights” after meeting with the representatives of the National Human Rights Institute (NHRI), an independent organization of public law, whose existence guarantees the chilean legislation.
The Government is in an impossible situation: you urgently need to control the public disorder, but on the other hand, do not give in to complaints by the excess police and military. According to NHRI, 3.712 people have been arrested since the outbreak of the protests, last October 18. Of these, 404 are children and adolescents. Of 1.233 injured, according to the NHRI, 37 received bullet wounds, 282 were repressed with firearms not identified and 140 have eye damage. In total, we have filed 138 lawsuits: five for murder, 18 for sexual violence, and 92 for torture.
Representatives of the High Commissioner of Human Rights of United Nations, led by the former president Bachelet, have arrived this Wednesday to the country to verify on the ground the allegations.
Stock market Crash
The market did not react well to the announcement of the president. The Santiago Stock exchange fell by 3.6%, while the dollar jumped to the highest since 2003, leaving 739,50 chilean pesos. “This is going to hit you all at the general trade, mainly small and medium-sized enterprises,” said Alexander Hughes, vice president of the Association of Hoteliers, on the cancellation of the forum, APEC and the COP25. The decision of Piñera has economic effects are incalculable yet for Chile, especially because it would affect indexes such as the country risk, which are fundamental for foreign investment.