Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. Earth Science News .

Pinera faces renewed student anger
by Staff Writers
Santiago, Chile (UPI) Aug 10, 2012

disclaimer: image is for illustration purposes only

Chilean President Sebastian Pinera faced renewed youth anger over inadequate education opportunities in Latin America's most developed market economy.

Chile is the only Latin member of the Organization of Economic Cooperation for Development, the club of the world's industrial countries that includes the United States, Canada, most of Europe, Japan and Australia.

But the country's privately controlled education has provoked the ire of students, teachers and trade unionists who say the system perpetuates privilege for the few.

Protests over inequities in the education system are in a second year and despite Pinera's plummeting popularity the government response has failed to calm the youth.

This week riot police resorted to water cannon to break up protests by thousands of students, their families, teachers and workers.

As before, the government called the protesters hooligans and vandals and accused their leaders of orchestrating riots that damaged the economy.

Santiago's mass transit system was among public properties attacked in this week's riots, in which demonstrators threw Molotov cocktails, looted shops and set buses alight.

More than 75 people were arrested and police said 49 officers received injuries. Casualties among the protesters weren't known but only a few reported to hospital with injuries.

Pinera spokesman Andreas Chadwick said the protesters opened the doors to "vandalism and delinquency" and called them responsible for the unrest.

"How much more should we put up with these illegal marches that call on school takeovers and that threaten a violent August?" Chadwick said. "What does that have to with education?"

Student leaders said Pinera's government still seemed clueless about the kind of appropriate response the protesting youth expect. The students say the government, the private sector and the banks are together in enforcing an unequal system that limits higher education opportunities to Chile's privileged wealthy class, a tiny minority.

Transportation Minister Pedro Pablo Errazuriz said he spoke for "millions of people who use the Transantiago and these heartless ones are taking the wrong attitude by burning the buses and putting at risk passengers and the driver."

Endemic student rioting has brought parts of Santiago to a standstill. Violent protests in June led to nearly 500 arrests, while police said 36 of its officers were injured.

Despite the continuing economic costs of the unrest and Pinera's rising unpopularity, key demands of the students' representatives remain unmet.

Most of the government-run schools have been criticized for the poor quality of education, while private universities have been singled out for both poor quality of education and restricted access. Banks have been criticized for fixing high interest rates for student loans.

Meanwhile, academic leaders are critical of Pinera and want a constructive dialogue between the government and students but many are afraid to speak out.

Pinera's response has been to reject calls for structural change in the education system and announce instead scholarships and soft loans. The program is said to be worth $1 billion but critics say the subsidy plan is poorly conceived and doesn't go far enough in solving the problem.


Related Links
Democracy in the 21st century at

Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News

Hacker blasts Myanmar over Muslim deaths
Yangon, Myanmar (UPI) Aug 10, 2012
Hackers broke into the Web site of Myanmar's Information Ministry and posted a threatening message telling the government to "stop the killing of Muslims." The message, posted in English, was a possible reference ongoing violence between Buddhists and Muslims in the state of Rakhine, also called Arakan state. The hacker's message said "those Muslims have a message of peace to the ... read more

Urban disasters spotlight strain on Asian cities

Armageddon looming? Tell Bruce Willis not to bother

TEPCO video shows tensions as Fukushima crisis unfurls

FEMA cell-phone alerts warn too many

Wired reporter hack reveals perils of digital age

Latin America poised for a lithium boom

Reluctant electrons enable 'extraordinarily strong' negative refraction

Wayward Satellites to Orbit for Months - Space Source

El Nino may be under way: Japan weather agency

Microbes, sponges, and worms add to coral reef woes

Threatened shark species turning up in US restaurants: study

China reservoir collapse kills at least 10: state media

Tropical climate in the Antarctic

Aerial photos reveal dynamic ice sheet

Russian icebreaker sets out for expedition

Researchers analyze melting glaciers and water resources in Central Asia

New technology eliminates plant toxins

Researchers Demonstrate Control of Devastating Cassava Virus in Africa

Hong Kong tests babies over Japanese milk formula

Drought causes 1bn euros crop damage in Italy

Bizarre rock 'ice shelf' found in Pacific

Ernesto moves across Mexico, Gilma now a hurricane

Appeal to help two million Philippine flood victims

Iran steps up relief efforts after quakes kill 227

Nigeria's Boko Haram now political issue

Once mighty, Somalia's army struggles to rebuild

NDPF doubts govt. can stop Boko Haram

Zambian court charge miner with Chinese boss murder

It's in our genes: Why women outlive men

Later Stone Age got earlier start in South Africa than thought

Modern culture 44,000 years ago

Hey, I'm over here: Men and women see things differently

The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement