BEIRUT, LEBANON (1:17 A.M.) – Close to 350,000 people in Chile’s capital Santiago and a further two million nationwide took part in street protests demanding the replacement of a private pension system imposed under the Pinochet regime.
— Daniel Andrade #ConvencionConstitucional (@DAndrade_S) March 26, 2017
The protesters main demand is the elimination of the current pension system, the privately run AFPs (Pension Fund Administrators).
Implemented under Pinochet, AFPs has now amassed close to 160 billion dollars in assets, generated by collecting and managing the people retirement funds and using it in the financial markets.
Although the aim of the scheme is to offer bigger pensions, 80% of pensioners recieve pensions below 230 dollars a month.
Protesters demand a new public pension system with tripartite participation of workers, employers and the state.
This is the fourth protest in less than a year organized by the “No More AFP” coalition.
— teleSUR TV (@teleSURtv) March 26, 2017
The pension protests are happening amid a growing anti-establishment sentiment driven by the exposure of corruption cases among the ruling class and demands of social and economic rights, such as education and healthcare, stripped away by the Pinochet dictatorship.
The political landscape is changing, with right wing billionare and former president Sebastian Pinera at the top of the polls – while he and is family are under judicial investigation.
On the other hand, TV journalist and senator Alejandro Guiller is the leading option among center-left ruling coalition.
Meanwhile, a new anti-establishment bloc, “Frente Amplio” (Broad Front), including progressive, left-wing organizations and social movements, aims to capitalize the popular anger against the ruling class.
Chile will held general elections in November 19th 2017.