Chile, Latin America: Week in Review

Chile: Protest For Educational Reform In Santiago Turns Violent

August 10, 2011 By Staff

Today in Latin America

Top Story — With much of the world’s attention focused on the widespread rioting in the United Kingdom, demonstrators in Chile took to the streets of Santiago Tuesday to protest the country’s educational policies. Vehicles burned, debris flew through the air and police used tear gas to repel a minority of demonstrators who caused disturbances and destroyed property during a protest for universal, free or subsidized access to education from kindergarten to university, and a host of other reforms. At least 273 protesters were detained, and 16 civilians and 23 police were injured. Besides students and professors, copper union members joined the protest and announced a strike in solidarity with the student movement. Tuesday’s violent protest comes only a week after police arrested 900 demonstrators accused of blocking roads and disturbing the peace as they participated in unauthorized marches. President Sebastian Piñera announced last month a new plan that included a $4 billion education fund, but it has done little to calm the situation in Chile. Student organizers insisted their march was peaceful and that only a few were responsible for causing disturbances and altercations with police. Chilean authorities estimated that some 2,000 demonstrators turned violent out of the estimated 70,000-80,000 who marched, but argued that the violence showed that student organizers could not control the situation. “Unfortunately, the results have shown one more time that they (organizers) do not have control of the marches,” said Chilean Interior Minister Rodrigo Hinzpeter.

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Headlines from the Western Hemisphere

North America


  • Cuban authorities arrested senior executives at state-run telephone company ETECSCA in a move to stamp out corruption there, Reuters reports, citing unnamed sources.
  • Swimmer Diana Nyad called off her attempt to cross the Florida Straits from Havana to Key West due to shoulder pain, an asthma attack and large waves.
  • Dominican authorities are seeking resort owner Matías Avelina Castro in connection with the murder of journalist José Silvestre, Deputy Attorney General Frank Soto said at a news conference Tuesday.

Central America


  • Peru plans to stop rationing energy in the industrial north today, after striking a deal to import electricity from neighboring Ecuador.
  • Police arrested a man Sunday who they suspect of making the methanol-laced liquor that has killed 36 people.
  • The coach of the Colombian national soccer team Hernán Darío Gómez resigned, after a coming under criticism for allegedly hitting a female companion after leaving a bar on Saturday night.

Southern Cone

Image: Fernando Manujano @ Flickr

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