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Uprising and Change in Chile: From Social Protest to Institutional Transformation


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October 2019 marked a turning point in Chilean history. What started as yet another protest became the country’s biggest social uprising since the end of the Pinochet dictatorship in 1990. Within a month, Congress had no choice but to authorize the start of a process that would eventually lead to a new constitution and to the election of the youngest president in the country's history.

The protests came to encompass a staggering array of social demands, ranging from pension, healthcare and education reform, to political corruption, privatization of natural resources, women’s rights, indigenous rights. Former President Piñera was widely criticized for his handling of the crisis, and his approval rating hit an all-time low of 6%. Conversely, polls showed that between 70 and 85% of Chileans supported the demands of the social movement. 

Mauricio Paredes has been director of the Syracuse University Santiago Center in Chile since 2008. Formerly a member of the sociology faculty at Universidad de Chile, Dr. Paredes currently teaches two SU program courses: "Contemporary Issues in Chile and Latin America" and "Dictatorships, Human Rights and Historical Memory in Chile and the Southern Cone." His interest in historical memory and Latin American dictatorships is closely related to his personal experience as a former political prisoner of the Pinochet regime. His current research on the history of human rights in the region includes archival evidence of Japanese internment camps in Chile during WWII, and his research has been recently published in book format by Lom Ediciones.


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MAX-Moynihan Institute of Global Affairs, MAX-Program on Latin America and the Caribbean


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