Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Traveler's Alert: Protests in Santiago Turn Violent

Chilean students in Santiago turned violent earlier today (October18), causing major gridlock throughout the capital. Clashing with police on the first day of a two-day national strike to demand that the government reform the education system, masked protesters launched homemade firebombs before taking refuge inside university and other school buildings. They also started on a public bus outside a university campus after its passengers fled.

COMMENT: Students have been protesting for more than five months to demand free public education for all; reduced state subsidies for private colleges; and improvement in the quality of education overall. Unfortunately, unlike public officials, protesters simply need to make demands, whereas government leaders must respond to such demands while taking into account the massive costs of such propositions at a time when all global economies are adversely affected by globalization.

For in-bound travelers to Chile, please consider massive protests and congested traffic when planning meetings in the capital. It may be far more useful to meet in the suburbs rather than downtown.

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