Na, Chile is not hurting for money like almost everywhere else in the world these days; however, the former government created this mess. These subsidies were political favors to capture regional votes.Ripsigg wrote:Thanks to El Puelche and Patagoiniax for keeping up with the updates regularly and a sense of what's happening on the ground, rather than what the newspapers and media have to tell us.
I am probably dead wrong on what I am going to say and it might even be offtopic, but it seems to me that is one salvo in a much bigger issue, one that even transcends border. I'm in a place where government workers are not getting their pay, prices of fuel and electricity are going through the roof, etc. Periodically, the local power company makes announcements that they are turning off the power grid because there is no money to buy fuel for the power plants. There frankly is no money for the local government anymore.
What does this have to do with Chile? It seems to me like Pinera is cutting the subsidies because there isn't enough money to pay for it anymore. It's why Evo tried to take away fuel subsidies recently in Bolivia. There is simply not enough "money" anymore because the world economy is crushed.
I think we will see more of this kind of thing as more and more subsidies get taken away and the cost of living becomes even more unbearable.
Again, I am probably dead wrong about how I am relating this to Chile, but it just seems like it fits to me.
Anyways, let's hope cooler heads prevail.
On the one hand I am for more aid to the Patagonia in general (read remote points in Chile), including targeted subsidies where needed, as in those remote areas people still need assistance to live and work in them. They are on some level still being colonized. It is simply more expensive to live there. I am however not for say giving subsidies to one part of it, and not the other part of it. We are not hearing anything from say Futa, or Aysen, or wherever. Futa for instance does not even have a gas station. The nearest gas is either in Argentina or two hours away on bad dirt roads.
One thing people need to understand about tourism in the Patagonia is much of the money never goes in to the community. The big money in tourism are operators and hotels either owned by foreigners or by people from the Central region. A large percentage of the money from any given foreign tourist never really makes it in to the regional communities at all. It is in Santiago at best, if not in a foreign bank account. Locals across the Patagonia, often get cut out of the loop themselves because tour operators do not wish risk their tour on questionable quality of local services (often with very good reason, that the locals will admit to when pressed). This is especially true in cases of fly fishing lodges and rafting companies, but I am sure a lot of general tour operators also. Obviously, the tourist handling their own trip get to make more direct contact with the small biz, but the strike organizers are not completely off base as a strategy by blocking the tourist. There is economic grounds for it. The guys being hit the most by the subsidy, are not making millions of dollars off of tourism in the region. In fact, most likely gain little to nothing from tourism accept on a seasonal basis.
The U.S. ambassador supposedly went down there to negotiate for the release of some 150 Americans in the area. Have not heard that from anywhere else.
http://en.mercopress.com/2011/01/15/str ... anes-chile
I would also caution everyone again about the nature of the way protest develop in Chile. The end of an otherwise peaceful protest, is often where they turn violent out of frustration or need for some action after waiting so long. So just because things seem to be easing up, keep your eye open for sudden swings in the mood of the crowd, especially the demographic makeup. If women and older people start to disappear from the crowd (i.e. changes to mostly males under 30 years old), chances are bad things are going to happen at any moment.