One of the most noticeable sights around Santiago and Chile in general is the graffiti/murals/protest banners. The following are some of my favorites.
Found in Puerto Natales, a tourist town known for Torres del Paine National Park, one of Chile’s most famous attractions. The first banner says “Indefinite halt!!! For better salaries”, while the second banner says “(Housekeepers)!! Mobilized by labor injustice”. It’s interesting to see labor and wage issues in a place so far away from the rest of the country, though not entirely unexpected.
Found in La Ligua, a town known for its textiles. The mural reads “Water is defended, it is not sold”. This is interesting in that it addresses two major issues in Chile, one current and one soon to be current. The first is the privatization of much of society, from the roadways to the water and sanitation system to the health system and the kind of inequality such policies may cause. The second is that of water rights – in particular, to the arid north the huge amount of water required by the nation’s copper mines and the high levels of arsenic in groundwater results in a situation in which populations may find themselves unable to pay for water, which would inevitably lead to conflict. This was unexpected as water rights issues traditionally pertain to regions such as the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa, not western South America.
Found on the outer limits of Santiago, these are some of my favorites. The first reads “Resist. Latin America. “Something leaves he who takes NOTHING; something takes he who leaves NOTHING””. The second reads “Thousands transit through here, day after day, maybe, they don’t know that in this very spot, the expressway would pass. For them the ends justify the means, destroying the park didn’t matter, the only lung of this sector. The population was alert, those were intense days, the people didn’t want crumbs. And now you see, the park of the roses lives!! Even though there is no rose plant… The amphitheater was born. This was years ago.. make the most of it, care for it, respect it.” The third seems to be a mural of a traditional Mapuche woman and her daughter, but I can’t be sure of this.
An interesting presentation of the conflict between tradition (the park) and progress (the roadway) in Chile.
Found in downtown Santiago. Translation means “crazy woman”. Pretty hilarious.
Found in downtown Santiago. Claro is the name of a mobile services company – the note translates to “On strike”. Taken together it means “Clearly on strike”.
Found in a schoolyard in San Jose de Maipó. Translates to “firework for education”. Reflects the continuing struggle of most Chileans throughout the country to receive a quality education.
Found in Barrio Brasil, Santiago.
Found in Barrio Brasil, Santiago. Translates to “He fell in love for the first time, she fell in love forever”.
Found in Barrio Brasil, Santiago. The first translates to “Attack the police!”. The figure in the second is the current president of Chile Sebastián Piñera. Clearly Chileans despise authority, most likely for good reason.