Chile's President Promises To Reshuffle Cabinet After Massive Protests In Santiago
Chilean President Sebastian Piñera announced a major reshuffle of his cabinet the day after a massive demonstration in the streets of the capital in the latest anti-government protests over economic inequality.
"We have all heard and understood the message of Chileans. I have asked all ministers to make their positions available. We're working to form a new team that represents change," Piñera tweeted on Saturday, in an effort to assuage the anger of protesters.
Todos hemos escuchado y comprendido mensaje de los chilenos. He pedido a todos los ministros poner sus cargos a disposición. Trabajamos en conformación de un nuevo equipo que represente el cambio y lidere los nuevos tiempos, + justos y solidarios, q los chilenos quieren y merecen— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) October 26, 2019
Just a day earlier, Chileans had filled downtown Santiago in their calls for change. The city's mayor, Karla Rubilar, estimated that about a million people took part in Friday's demonstration. She wrote that the protesters "represent the dream of a new Chile."
Chile hoy vive una jornada histórica. La RM es protagonista de una pacífica marcha de cerca de 1 millón de personas que representan el sueño de un Chile nuevo, de forma transversal sin distinción. Más diálogo y marchas pacíficas requiere nuestro país ❤! #ArribaStgo💪 #RMdeTodos pic.twitter.com/RWcLBU67LD— Karla Rubilar Barahona (@KarlaEnAccion) October 25, 2019
Chile had long been seen as a tranquil nation in an increasingly turbulent region. But in the past week, Piñera has deployed army troops, and The Guardian reports that hundreds of people were shot during the unrest. The government says at least 20 people have died in the protests, the Associated Press reports.
Protests began over a 4-cent price hike in subway fares, but soon spun out to encompass the significant income inequality in the country.
Piñera subsequently announced he was raising minimum wage and pensions, capping health care costs, and raising taxes on the wealthy, among a raft of other changes under the name Nueva Agenda Social.
For some, it's not enough. Thousands of protesters gathered again on Saturday evening in the plazas of cities across Chile, according to the AP.
Curfews were lifted in many places on Saturday and Sunday. The country has been in a state of emergency for nine days, which Piñera indicated he may soon lift.