Social Outburst


   © Photos and Text: Florencia Sánchez

The social outburst in Chile was a time bomb that was going to explode sooner or later, but whose magnitude few imagined. The trigger was the rise in subway fares, which is why, with exemplary determination, secondary school students, as representatives of an oppressed society, responded with massive evasions of public transport, an act of civil disobedience that marked a before and after and the formation of an unprecedented movement without colors or ideologies, whose purpose is to eradicate the abuses of this superlative neoliberal model and overthrow the permanence of the interests and privileges of a few contrasting with the enormous difficulties of various kinds in which a large percentage of the chilean population lives.

My participation in this movement – ​​by the way, the most massive and powerful since the 1980s – began just the day after October 18, a sunny Saturday in which I decided, without much thought, to go out with my photographic equipment to record and document what that was happening or about to happen in one of the nerve centers of the city, Plaza Italia, a traditional meeting point, nowadays, well called Plaza de la Dignidad by the citizens.

During that day, from early on, signs of repression by the police forces began to be observed, which, in order to keep neutralized the population that was demonstrating with pans, launched from time to time tear gas bombs to disperse the demonstrators. Later, we witnessed the presence of armed soldiers in the streets mounted on their tanks, threatening and arrogant. A powerful image, that for a whole generation were memories built and apprehended through orality and images that others, our predecessors, narrated to us from childhood. However, for our parents and grandparents it represents the harshest, darkest and most sinister collective reality in memory in our country. A past that hurts like a ghost that wanders through the corners of a city in fury.

The days to come were no exception; the government, incapable of giving concrete answers to the legitimate demands of the population, allowed the demonstrations to continue and become our space for daily struggle, a place that established an invisible bridge that, in an unexpected way, united us in our social, economic and ideological differences, and reconciled us to the mistaken cold, sparse and individualistic image that we had of ourselves as a society. On the contrary, the solidarity, empathy and collaboration experienced during these days have also been a boost in this fight, which involves rebuilding a more humanized social fabric.

We claimed, Chile woke up and woke up with more determination than ever. For all the oppressed, the forgotten, the abused, the grandparents, the children, the future, the less privileged classes, our dignity was that we were in the street, each one with his means. In my case, with cameras to spread a record that became a story of this event.

And so the days went by, yes, running, vertiginous, urgent. Many emotions surfaced. Today more than ever justice is demanded, profound changes are demanded, because without them there will be no peace in Chile.

There is no way back. We are finally awake. Today we continue this fight until dignity and social and economic justice become customary and "life become worth living."

Faces, portraits and various stories is what this photographic gallery presents, which honestly seeks to make visible all the dimensions and edges that this crucial and determining event had for the social and political future of Chile.