Latin America stands in solidarity with Chile (13 September 2011)

Latin America stands in solidarity with Chile (13 September 2011)

EI’s Regional Office in Latin America has called on teacher unionists across the continent to assemble in front of Chilean embassies on 8 September in solidarity with the country’s people who are engaged in an ongoing battle for quality public education.

Education unions want to show their contempt for heavy-handed police repression that has been exerted on peaceful demonstrators and has resulted in the death of one person.

Manuel Gutiérrez, 16, was pushing his brother’s wheelchair through Chile’s capital, Santiago, when police opened fire against demonstrators taking part in a national strike on 25 August. Gutiérrez suffered a gunshot wound in the chest which killed him.

The demonstrations, which have beset the country for many months, have resulted in thousands of protestors being injured and more than 800 being detained, including many minors.

In a public statement the EI affiliate, Colegio de Profesores de Chile (CPC), said: “When the only form of dialogue is repression, it is not possible to progress with agreements.”

CPC, along with Chile’s student federations, recently proposed a Social agreement for education, demanding an end to profit in education, with specific measures such as decentralisation without privatisation and financing for higher education. However, the proposal was rejected by the Chile’s President Raphael Piñera.

CPC President, Jaime Fajardo, stated: “At the core of civil society’s demands there is a debate not only for a profound reform of the Chilean education system, but also for a reform of the whole economic model.”

Fajardo announced an ‘Abrazo Trasandino’ ("Andean hug") meeting on 10 September, taking place at Paso Los Libertadores, on Chile’s border with Argentina, where teachers of both countries would sign a symbolic agreement for public education.

EI stands in solidarity with Chile’s education unions and insists that education is a fundamental right that should not be regarded as a commodity or thrown open to the market.

Internacional de la Educación, 13/09/11

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