Poverty in Chile

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In this documentary, Chile’s poor economic conditions, partly affected by natural disasters, have been investigated from the perspective of its citizens.

TIME CODE: 00:00_05:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Leonardo Moreno, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Overcoming of Poverty: “We could say that poverty is, in reality, the non-fulfillment of basic human needs. It is the incapacity to sustain an adequate livelihood and applies to many of the people in Chile. Also, it is the deficiency of basic rights of the people to have access to education, health, housing and jobs.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Álvarez, Director of the Institute of Geography of the Catholic University of Valparaíso; Master's Degree in City Planning: “This logic can be explained as symbiotic to social poverty and environmental poverty, which are both related - two faces of the same coin. However, public policy treats them separately, which is why today we have to solve the problem of housing at the individual level for each citizen. We aren’t doing any city planning or development.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manuel Antonio Garretón, Sociologist, Political Scientist; recipient of the National Award for Humanities and Social Sciences: “One thing that we need to take into account while analyzing the Chilean development model and the consequences that it has had from the point of view of poverty, inequality and instability is that Chile was the only country upon which neo-Liberalism was forced upon the population from a unilateral dictatorship.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Heidi Berner, Undersecretary of Social Evaluation; Ministry of Social Development of Chile: “We in government recognize that Chile is one of the most unequal countries in the world. What the Global Multidimensional Poverty Index (MPI) records is to what extent the population has access to basic welfare needs such as education, healthcare, housing, jobs and social security.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Dante Contreras, Academic at University of Chile; PhD in Economics: “According to the metrics that gauge income poverty, Chile has one of the lowest scores in Latin America. However, when you look at the MPI, it contradicts that assessment.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lorena Monroy, President of the Neighborhood Council of El Litre Hills: “For me it was embarrassing. Embarrassing that in the period of just one year the minister visited the same house three times. Can you believe that! Of the 3,140 victims in the municipality there have only been 54 cases looked into? They have approved 54 repair contracts; they have auctioned just 54 cases. It’s simply not fair… after a year and a half! What is going on?!”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Germán Valenzuela, Architect and Teacher, University of Talca: “We are in an area in which poverty is hidden behind a façade. Earthquakes and other types of events like forest fires, landslides and floods compound the situation. That is to say, the veil falls away and one realizes how fragile our cities really are. In particular, this is true for cities on the periphery of Santiago. The regions within Chile have observed that public policies are oriented towards general governance and are not city or territory-specific.”

TIME CODE: 05:00_10:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Leonardo Moreno, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Overcoming of Poverty: “In the case of Chile, as is also the case throughout Latin America, we follow a measurement that is traditional and is the one that CEPAL uses (Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean). CEPAL measures the monetary character - meaning, it determines the national poverty level by calculating estimated revenues against estimated household spending; but it isn´t even considering essential expenses that a family surely has.

What it has brought to the table is the ability to measure factors such as education, healthcare, housing and employment. Combined, these four factors give us a specific number that lets us know the deprivations that people are dealing with in those areas. This index raises the national poverty figure in Chile from 14.2% to 20.2%. That is to say that poverty in Chile measured with the MPI index is considerably higher than poverty measured by income. This is very important because it shows us vastly more global and widespread poverty.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marcelo Arnold, President of the Latin-American Association of Sociology: “The most important thing in that index is its evolution in contrast to its quantity - If the index goes up or down or stays the same affected by a certain factor or measure. I would say that, at least from a sociological point of view, it is the variables that provide the relevant information. One could argue about the instruments used to obtain an index, but if you are really want to discover what is happening in the country, you would have to look at the data over a period of time.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manuel Antonio Garretón, Sociologist, Political Scientist; recipient of the National Award for Humanities and Social Sciences: “When there is talk about the multidimensionality of poverty, one realizes that those that could potentially obtain a certain level of income that could actually get them out of poverty are also in a situation whereby they could fall back into poverty again… and very quickly. So, the support of social organizations cannot be effective alone without the provision of adequate healthcare services, education, housing, transport and so on. If the poor had these services and poverty levels still fell, these services nevertheless are still vital.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] José de Nordenflycht, Academician University of Playa Ancha, Specialist in Heritage:We shouldn´t forget that since 1973 there has been a process of liberalization of the use of the land and that since then all legal entities involved in the matters of land have been following the notion that demand and supply regulate the market. This is a starting point and explains not only the restlessness in the northern territories —and in this case in Valparaiso— but also the immense human anxiety that exists in many of the larger cities that have the same characteristics as Santiago.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miriam Olea, Citizen affected by the fire in Valparaíso, 2014: “Well I came to live in Cerro Litre about 28 years ago. I was born and raised in Valparaiso - I used to live in Cerro La Cruz with my parents. Once I gave birth to my daughter, I moved away for one and half years. Then I returned and built a house in Cerro Litre. I lived in my house while raising my daughter so there are a lot of memories there, it was where my child was born and… These are intense and also good memories. The memories were all in my house: my photos; the things that cost me a fortune to buy... I know that material things can all be made up for, but the times are different now and things are more difficult.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Álvarez, Director of the Institute of Geography of the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Master's Degree in City Planning: “The greatest threat these days to Valparaiso is the low levels of humidity. When humidity goes down, vulnerability in the population increases. Levels of humidity drop to 25% and everything becomes inflammable. Then it only takes an accident to create a forest fire. There are many forest fires in Valparaiso. And since the city is located towards the north and the wind comes from the south, frequently the forest fires reach the city. Because of that we have to analyze Valparaiso for forest fires and take into consideration the fact that the forest fires also affect the city.”

TIME CODE: 10:00_15:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] José de Nordenflycht, Academician University of Playa Ancha, Specialist in Heritage: “Those who live in the sectors with less purchasing power and those who moved to Valparaiso in the past 50 years are not in the inner parts of the city and therefore they live on the hills and places with higher altitude. This generates the very paradoxical situation that on the one hand the installation and placement of these communities that are visually attractive rises while at the same time it hides serious issues and problems that have been causing headaches for the specialists during the past couple of years —for which we have designed many solutions—, issues that are revealed when an event happens that in the end shows us that this is merely the tip of the iceberg and that there is a much bigger and more complex structural challenge concerning this city.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Álvarez, Director of the Institute of Geography of the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Master's Degree in City Planning: “The northern part of Valparaiso suffers gross environmental and social poverty - a poverty where the essence or the participation of public projects is non-existent and because of that, infrastructure is in decay. It is basically a failed city. Otherwise it’s not a good city in respect to the fact that the city should take care of its citizens. The city doesn’t take care of them and lets the urban development of the city to proliferate by itself. On the other hand there is this so called environmental poverty. This is an absolutely deteriorated and intervened environment that the only thing that it does is to incubate disasters.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miriam Olea, Citizen affected by the fire in Valparaíso, 2014: “Well, we live in Cerro la Cruz. It is away from the hills where the fire began, or it seemed like it was very far away. You couldn’t see the fire from there and it didn’t seem as if it was close at all. But suddenly, in a matter of seconds the fire had surrounded the Berger zone and had spread in less than 10 minutes to Cerro La Cruz. In less than 15 minutes it was already in Cerro Litre. No one understood how it spread so fast. The flames were frightening and the fireballs landed on top of rooftops. It was a terrifying experience and also very, very infuriating.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Local People: “The fire was coming from up there, the place they call El Radal. About seven in the afternoon the fire got to the little hill there. And in 5 minutes it formed a big fire and when we realized what was happening it was hell already, because the fire was going up… like a tsunami.

And around four in the afternoon my youngest son called me and told me: “Papa, I’m with mama at O’Higgins square.” I asked him, “What are you doing at O’Higgins square? Is there an event or something?” He said, “No dad, they evacuated us, our house burnt down.” Imagine the shock, someone giving you the news like, they suddenly tell you that oh your house just burned down.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lorena Monroy, President of the Neighborhood Council of El Litre Hills: “We started to work from my house, which became a kind of gathering center. My family and I slept in the street actually. My home, my dining room, my bathroom, my kitchen and bedrooms were all bestowed to our neighbors. They would stay there and we would sleep in the street. We slept in the street for a whole month.”

TIME CODE: 15:00_20:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Álvarez, Director of the Institute of Geography of the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Master's Degree in City Planning: “Today we burned down some forest that will regenerate in five years. In fact, in five years we will have doubled the fuel mass. That is why the next fire will be twice as strong as the one we saw now because we have done nothing to combat an invasive species that is highly pyrophytic, namely the eucalyptus. If we study its origins in Australia we come to realize that the eucalyptus is adapted to a forest that is naturally burnt. To burn is in its nature so it can regenerate, which means that blazes and forest fires make it grow anew. When our native flora is burned down, it degrades or dies, while on the other hand the eucalyptus multiplies and spreads. So, the eucalyptus gets the advantage and that is why if you go to the higher regions you only find eucalyptus trees.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lorena Monroy, President of the Neighborhood Council of El Litre Hills: “They say that the state burned it down. Valparaiso should have had firewalls many years ago. They say it is because the government didn’t give money and resources to the mayor when he asked them to clean the ravine.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Miriam Olea, Citizen affected by the fire in Valparaíso, 2014: “We have been waiting for answers for the past one and a half years, waiting for them to tell us what is going to happen. There are people here who don’t want to leave, who don’t have answers and won’t leave anyway.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lorena Monroy, President of the Neighborhood Council of El Litre Hills: “From the beginning we have been working on this. The first ones to come here were from the municipality of Valparaiso and after them the national government. But those who helped voluntarily were the university students who took out the dirt and debris with the victims. We are forever grateful for their help, which they provided to us directly after the fire decimated the area.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Dante Contreras, Ph.D in Economics and Academician in the University of Chile: “Another problem that Chilean society has over and above poverty and inequality of income is vulnerability. The data we have from surveys shows that the families and those who get out of poverty (a probability rate of 30%), fall back into poverty again. This shows that improvement to the conditions of living that the Chilean population overall has shown, in a short amount of time is vulnerable, which means that a single health issue or job issue can force a family back into poverty.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Leonardo Moreno, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Overcoming of Poverty: “This type of vulnerability applies to people who can’t deal with an accident or unexpected occurrence and can’t pull themselves together. In this case, I am referring to incidences that are mostly about people losing their jobs and falling ill. Evidently in the case of Chile this also applies to accidents that occur frequently due to climatic and environmental conditions. Chile experiences the most seismic movement in the world and is also the country with the most active volcanoes. So, living in this volatile environment adds to the worries of people who find it difficult to manage their day to day problems.”

TIME CODE: 20:00_25:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Lorena Monroy, President of the Neighborhood Council of El Litre Hills: “The buildings in Litre Hills, in Cerro La Cruz, Mariposa, are not considered heritage. Concepcion, Cerro Alegre, where it is more beautiful and which was not burnt, is heritage listed. I don’t know exactly why the hills with its beautiful views were burnt.

Really, it gives you a lot to think about. Why did these hills burn down? Why the firemen received orders to not go up there and instead waited until the fire got to Lemaña Avenue? I don’t know the reasons. Some of these events make you really think though. Where there were fires, they later built towers. Where there was fire, they began new construction and there is no more heritage. It’s over for the beautiful hills, the hills of Valparaiso.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Heidi Berner, Undersecretary of Social Evaluation, Ministry of Social Development of Chile: “There is effectively a considerable portion of the populace that believes that, probably, it doesn’t have access to essential goods and services to the quality and quantity required. And in this sense we, as the government, are expanding our scope. Yes, we are improving the programs that allow us to work with people in poverty. Along with this we have policies that look farther in advance of the concept of poverty and try to improve the distribution of income in the country. The first important reform that was approved in the Congress, in the government of our female president, was the tributary reform. And as shown in studies by the World Bank, the tributary reform is improving income equality through a tributary system that makes high income earners pay more in taxes.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manuel Antonio Garretón, Sociologist, Political Scientist and National Award for Humanities and Social Sciences: There have been programs very important in improving the situation. By improving the situation we mean getting from a miserable situation or a situation of minimum or subsistence that doesn’t generate possibilities for improving living conditions to a degree of enhancing the prospects of the family unit. Precisely, through indebtedness we can make it so children enjoy an educational standard not achieved in preceding generations. This is confirmed by the fact that 7 out of 10 parents of students at universities did not attend a higher education.

But this doesn’t mean that the education they are receiving will be of use to them after they complete their studies. Rather, dropout rates are substantial and having a degree rarely leads to employment. On the flipside, their fathers have to bear the student debts. So then, all this generates tension and anxiety that is causing a sense of uncertainty and a negative vibe within the society. The sense is that young citizens are being exploited financially and families left with massive debt.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Dante Contreras, Ph.D in Economics and Academician in the University of Chile: “The model applied during the dictatorship explains the elevated levels of poverty. Since 1990 to the present day, when democracy was recovered, what has been observed with different indexes - whereas those indexes are income-oriented or multidimensional - is that there is improvement in the overall situation. Even when poverty rates went down, the concentration of wealth at the top increased. Then what you are left with is a situation in which living conditions have improved amongst the poorest, but the richest have seen even more improvement. So, the distribution of wealth has not changed much for the poor yet at the same time the rich now have a bigger share of the country’s wealth.”

TIME CODE: 25:00_30:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manuel Antonio Garretón, Sociologist, Political Scientist and National Award for Humanities and Social Sciences: “The middle class has disappeared in Chile during the past couple of years. For there to be a middle class there must be a certain differentiation between the poor and the middle class and that is no longer evident. Therefore, you are either among the poor or the sector with average income, but not considered middle class. The idea of the middle class is that it has: a relatively common social base; relations with the state; and relatively common cultural orientations, but nowadays there is no relative common political orientation. Thus there is no middle class. Due to its non-existence, the sectors that were considered before as middle class now don’t have the mechanisms of organizations and of participation that existed before.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marcelo Arnold, President of the Latin-American Association of Sociology: “If you eliminate the 1% of the richest folk of the country or let’s say that you don’t take them into account in the statistics, then this country would have very low inequality, maybe even the lowest in Latin America.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jairo Valdés, President of the NGO “The best change of your life”: “People come to live in a camp because of various hardships in their lives. 80% of the people in this camp are women and many of them come here due to domestic violence, lack of opportunities, lack of education, having lost their homes etc, and they come out of desperation to a place, which allows them to sleep safely alongside their children.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pamela Vargas, Inhabitant of camp Japón, Maipú, Santiago de Chile: “The fact is that we have been like this for about five years now. At least I have been in this situation for five years and you surely understand that I do not live in the best of conditions. And well, I’m not sure if they know that we are fighting for a better place to go to, to find a house of our own. That is the dream of each and every one of us. That is because, at least for myself, I cannot have my child here.

As a matter of fact, my child is now in a house, ‘La Casa Nacional del Niño’ - the only hindrance at this time is that the child needs a room of their own, and when the social worker came to see my situation, she saw that I didn’t provide an acceptable environment to take care of my child and because of that I couldn’t bring him here… because… I’m going to be honest, I had a drug problem and my mom was the one who informed on me. So, then I rehabilitated, which wasn’t easy for me because it’s not easy to do that on your own. No one told me: Pamela, you should rehabilitate yourself. Pamela, what's wrong? No. It really was difficult for me. Here, everyone has seen me in that state. I was like a Rottweiler dog going around in the house. I would go to a neighbor’s to stop myself from doing drugs when I had the urge because I wanted my son back. And now that I have done it I can’t bring him here to live in these conditions. There is always an obstacle I might say, that you can’t surpass. The same people come to your door and tell you that, no, you are in a camp. And they discriminate against you and look down on you even though I have as much education as they do. I finished high school and went to university, but I couldn’t get my degree because my parents at some point couldn’t afford the fees. Maybe I could have worked, but I had a child… and then what? I dedicated my time to him and ended up here and I don’t have any help or support from anyone to get a house and be with my son. I lived in a normal house and then they evicted me and I ended up here.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marcelo Arnold, President of the Latin-American Association of Sociology: “There has been an increase in the educated population because there is now better access to education. Many of the citizens have been newly empowered, but also they have witnessed the exorbitant lifestyles of the so called super rich and this has created an important cultural malaise.”

TIME CODE: 30:00_35:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Dante Contreras, Ph.D in Economics and Academician in the University of Chile: “Today, Chile is in a situation where, being a country of predominantly low income earners, it is reforming the education industry so that a higher percentage of its populace can access secondary education, and better health policies than those we have had prior. By doing this, you accumulate more human capital and therefore you get better means of productivity.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Heidi Berner, Undersecretary of Social Evaluation, Ministry of Social Development of Chile: “The education reforms that we are trying to accomplish apply to most of our citizens or hopefully all of them to have access to a good quality education without discrimination, and that it becomes a citizen’s right. It’s vital that this education be of good quality and doesn’t depend on how much households can afford. Work is being done around this matter.

Also, work is being done in the health sector to try to raise the standards there and this work focuses on facilitating better access to health specialists. There is a whole program for the training of these specialists, but there is also a campaign to ensure these health specialists work in the public sector. And these are part of the focus towards reducing the vulnerabilities that a household can suffer when someone falls ill and that illness affects the family unit since that person not only won’t be able to work, but also would have to pay medical costs. This is why we are focusing on the health, education and job sectors.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jairo Valdés, President of the NGO “The best change of your life”:I also feel a connection to this camp since I myself was born and raised in similar circumstances to those who are living here and I feel a responsibility and duty so that I, as a citizen of this country, try to make a change. So then, the first step toward achieving that change is to engage closely to those with the issues. I got close to this camp and started to do a very specific job. With what I had and what I could I searched for more people that would join me and help the camp. In this way we will hopefully get to the point where thousands will come to help eventually.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pamela Vargas, Inhabitant of camp Japón, Maipú, Santiago de Chile: “There are approximately 40 families here. In most of those families there are women. There are lonely women, but not all of them. The majority don’t work… well some do, but still others can’t find work and there are single mothers that can’t work. We are really getting help now though. The state doesn’t help at all, but the citizens sure do. As I told you before, I have yet to see an official or important person here helping us. The community is more supportive.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jairo Valdés, President of the NGO “The best change of your life”: “We can no longer continue carrying on with this degree of poverty. The camps in Chile are short term solutions and will be basically useless in winter. I dream of eradicating these camps and this camp and that the people living in them end up having a dignified house to live in. We are currently in the process of gathering the money required to buy the lands in which we could build the houses for these people to live in.”

TIME CODE: 35:00_40:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marcelo Arnold, President of the Latin-American Association of Sociology: “Many of the NGOs or at least some of them are organizations that have beautiful and inspiring missions. And many of those goals and incentives are very generous; there is no doubt about that. But also there are consequences to that assistance and one of those consequences is that they solve certain problems that should not be solved by them. In other words, they provide private solutions to structural problems.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Dante Contreras, Ph.D in Economics and Academician in the University of Chile: “Well, I believe it’s a natural and expected result when no one fills the void. That is to say, when no one fills the void then the social systems generate units that go filling the voids that have been left unattended and in this case this is true of the void left by the private sector and the state. So, the civil society starts to focus on the issues of the rights of children, gender equality, representation of minorities and the representation of sexual minorities and they begin to put pressure on filling the voids left by the absence of the necessary public policies.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Heidi Berner, Undersecretary of Social Evaluation, Ministry of Social Development of Chile: “I believe that the cooperation between the public and private sector is part of a modern state where the state and government fulfills a role in regulation and financing etc. And the third sector or the one with the corporations and foundations fulfill their role in cooperation with the private and the public sector in terms of how we do it so that all effort is coordinated and extends to all possible places. And this cooperation between the public and private sector isn’t just in financing, but also in coordinating social policy objectives.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Leonardo Moreno, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Overcoming of Poverty: “We as non-profit civil society can’t do that and can’t be a part of it and keep insisting on subsidies and policies etc. We have to approach the issue differently. When we approach it differently than the way the community does, one could say that efforts would go towards dismantling the industry that works to solve poverty issues because of the different approach. And we should remember, as we have seen in this interview, that poverty is much more than just one aspect and it isn’t just something material.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marcelo Arnold, President of the Latin-American Association of Sociology: “The state shouldn’t rely on these communities to solve the problems that the state should solve. And that is something that concerns the public sector. That is to say that this doesn’t mean to marginalize these organizations, but it means to put them in the place where they should be: they support, cooperate, compliment, experiment and elaborate pilot programs. However, without a doubt, the reconstruction of a country should not be carried out by an NGO or organizations such as those.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Leonardo Moreno, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Overcoming of Poverty: “Chile does not suffer malnourishment, but there is obesity. If we don’t comprehend these global changes then we can’t advance in the sense of overcoming poverty permanently.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Celinda Faúndez, Víctima del terremoto de Talca de 2010: “The earthquake began when I was watching TV. I thought I was imagining the debris falling on me. And then I realized big pieces of debris were falling and they even blocked off the door. I couldn’t get out. It was terrifying. I thought of my neighbor and went to see her. When I got out, I realized how bad it was. The wall had fallen and now I didn’t have a house. And I had renovated this house. I had spent a lot to have it ready for the people who came here. I suffered a lot after that; lived on the streets; slept in the streets. We didn’t have a place to live. The earthquake ruined everything for me. It was all over. I had to survive in the streets without knowing how to do that. I suffered much, being left alone and without help.”

TIME CODE: 40:00_45:00

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Germán Valenzuela, Architect and Teacher, University of Talca: “What the earthquake revealed was the fact that Talca was and still is a poor city. The average salary of the families in this region is around 1,000 dollars. That means that in the event of a tragedy the vast majority don’t have the resources to deal with it and hence have to rely on the state. The state has a rather global way of addressing these situations. Because of that it tends to handle emergencies better. And let’s say that during these five years it has notably provided emergency care. And the biggest part of those who were affected by the tragedy of 27 Feb now has a house to live in. But the problem is not just that. The problem is what comes after the emergency. It is the way in which the city and its citizens are impacted physically and psychologically. It is the way in which the policies of the state are able to affect the people and not only affect the statistics. That is because considering the statistics only, the reconstruction has finished. But from the point of view of psychological and personal reparation, the construction hasn’t even begun. The coming years will, I hope, give us an opportunity to discover how to undertake policymaking that lets us carry out an efficient and effective reconstruction of the city.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Celinda Faúndez, Víctim of the 2010 Talca earthquake: “So many years have passed since the earthquake and one is still picking up the pieces. I still have to build another wall so I can have a good bathroom - and I had two good bathrooms before the earthquake - Now I have nothing. This small bathroom, the one that we have here, is so bad that… you know, you flush once and its ok, but you flush a second time and the water backs up. The house is in disrepair; it’s bad in all aspects. They made a hole to fix it, but it’s still bad. These houses are poorly built, so… but we have to keep on living. Before, I had it all – everything! I had a job, I had a car. Now I don’t have a job, I have nothing.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Germán Valenzuela, Architect and Teacher, University of Talca: “Take the most vulnerable to the periphery of the city isn’t subsidizing the poverty, but subsidizing the wealth. We let the city, which has the best services, to those who can pay for them. And those who can’t afford it, well, they have to move to the peripheries of the city, which has scarcer recourses. What does that mean? It means that the families that can’t afford the greater transport costs are forced to stay out in the peripheries while the head of the household who works, must travel to the city center to work. This stratifies the society, divides it. It divides it socially and culturally. This is what has happened in Talca and all these little cities after the earthquake.”

TIME CODE: 45:00_51:11

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Álvarez, Director of the Institute of Geography of the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Master's Degree in City Planning: “To see how we rethink ourselves as a society is, for me, a deep and structural change - that is, a democratic deepening. Constitutional changes are absolutely necessary to replenish the public’s value. That is because if we replenish the public’s value then we could comprehend that the public project interests us all. If we had installed in our society the concept of the public, then those at the higher echelons of power would be fighting to make better the streets, better public transport, better social policies, sports complexes… And yet these days they are focused on the private sector.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Jairo Valdés, President of the NGO “The best change of your life”: “We see both faces. We see a Chile that is going up, a Chile that is growing, and we can see that in the statistics, and we see in many foreign analyses that Chile is an incredible country. But we also have this other face, the face of the people living in camps; the face of people living without having the basics to thrive. That is why the idea is to rise up a little more; to be more equitable with what is really happening here in our country.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Manuel Antonio Garretón, Sociologist, Political Scientist and National Award for Humanities and Social Sciences: “In the Chilean case the positive aspect was the fact that after the transition - for the first time in history since the time of the popular front – to a center-left government, important corrections were made to the neo-Liberal model. The changes implemented resulted in: important economic growth; reductions in poverty; and an increase in education levels. However, we could not entirely escape the neo-Liberal model. We didn’t take the leap towards a new role for the state where it could be active in the economic development and development of production; nor did we counter the redistribution of wealth or reduction of other inequalities.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Marcelo Arnold, President of the Latin-American Association of Sociology: “There is one aspect that always catches the attention of the analysts and also the attention of us in the role of external observers and that is the fact that there is large social inequality amongst the Chilean population, and that this contradicts the so-called growth in economic development.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Leonardo Moreno, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Overcoming of Poverty: “In the case of Chile we have 629,000 pesos as the average income, which is roughly equivalent to 800 US dollars. What is really going on? This average income only truly represents the top 20% of income earners. 80% of citizens earn less than this national average income.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Pamela Vargas, Inhabitant of camp Japón, Maipú, Santiago de Chile: “Priority is given to things that maybe don’t matter that are not priority because really, I don’t want to see a child play in here. I don’t want to see my child play in this place. Really, I don’t want to see my child play here. They get out and see all this trash. The only desire for the people who are here is to get out of here and not live here anymore.

We all want to achieve our goals, which is: to buy some land and get move away from here; have a house located in a dignified area. That is the dream for me and for everyone else here.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Leonardo Moreno, Executive Director of the Foundation for the Overcoming of Poverty: We are facing a series of issues and they have formed committees, and we know where the problems are. We know that we have education problems; we know that we have health problems; we have problems in housing, jobs and in the pensions sector.

They form committees, but Chilean politics and various difficulties cause us to lack the necessary conviction to advance reforms that are more profound, and that require a big psychological shift in the country in order to achieve the results that we want. This is not an ideological problem. It is a problem of considering the outcomes we have today after 25 years in a democracy with a government model that isn’t prone to change.”

SOUNDBITE [Spanish] Luis Álvarez, Director of the Institute of Geography of the Catholic University of Valparaíso, Master's Degree in City Planning: “Therefore, what we continue to do under this model is inherit more poverty, and so we won’t overcome anything. We remain residents of adversity.”

   

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