Yes for business and big investors,
and No for the rest!
and No for the rest!
Business reports in Chile... See this articlehttp://santiagotimes.cl/week-business-barrick-gold-strikes-local-community-agreement/?fb_action_ids=508094205959248&fb_action_types=og.comments
But Chile is not the wonderful place both Chile's governments and big business pretend...
While about 70% of Chilean workers make less than US$400 per month for a typical family of 4.5 members. This is some US$2.15 per person. Well below the standards of poverty, according to the World Bank. Chilean First Nations family income is, on average, about half of that! Put this in the context of a, imposed fix tax -IVA or GST that includes food, book... everything that, is of a 20%. This will permit you to see how fair can be Chile's economic and social policies. Bachelet's upcoming Tributary Reform includes a decrease of taxes for those making more that US$13,000 per month but the "GST is to stay as is". Meanwhile, profits made by mining, fishing or forestry companies are huge. Chile's huge ocean access is in the hands of 4 families.
These are a key factors why Chile is proclaimed by the WTO, IMF and big business, as "a great country to do business with"... A process that started in 1973 with Pinochet and got worse with every single post dictator's government. Now, education is for business, of poor quality and for profit. Students have taken the streets to protest but the governments, rather than making the changes the entire country is requesting, has used repression and attitudes that have been well reported of improper repression. Some were killed and large numbers tortured. Bachelet is under great pressure from the student movement as they are not putting up with the President's "promises", which are unlikely to be implemented with her weak and inafequate Tributary Reform. Health care is very poor while privatisation increases every day. The promise made by the government that there would be fantastic improvements with a new Chile's Public-Private-Partmership for hospitals is failing (as it has world wide; in Chile they are called Hospitales Concesionados). So, again, we see that what is a fraud for Chileans... is reported as great for business.
Water has been privatised up to 96% of the national water resources. This is the worse case in the world, as water is a basic human right! Now, drinking water is already a common problem for Chileans. Mining companies use and abuse water -in the order of thousands of liters per minute, and, additionally, the contaminate water with chemicals used in the mining process. Reports by workers, communities, as well as by studies made the Chilean College of Physicians indicate that rivers have disappeared and the water is highly toxic. Copper is exported without been processed in Chile, at a cheap price and returns highly purified at much greater costs. When extracted, companies take it in bulk which implies that gold, silver, Wolfram and other important components are not even considered... becoming a freebee for the companies. This explains why Chile is, indeed, a great country for aggressive investors. "Chile is one of the best places on Earth to make business". And this is not a joke for Chileans, as they have lost any little equity the country may have had in a remote past. Forestry is a nightmare as a few companies have some of the largest returns world wide for their exports of cellulose and wood: Chile is a small country for forestry but proportionally sells more than largest countries. Chile an governments provide all sort of "facilities" to the investors... and this include salaries that are extremely unfair, lack of union rights, and a country that at the OCDE is at the end of the list of equity and fairness.
The Mapuche (Chile's First Nations) are continuously under Chile's Special Police Forces' fire for their demands. They have less than 6% of their original lands as governments today permit forestry companies to take over with no restrictions. During the 19th. and 20th centuries, Chile had policies to invite Europeans to settle in Chile at the cost of the indigenous lands. It was some sort of disfranchising natives and giving land, plus resources and police protection to the incomers. Groups of the self-called "Chilean aristocracy", -themselves prominent members of the plot with the CIA and big business Military Coup in 1973)-, wrote in their news papers, that "they (meaning Mapuche and other indigenous peoples) were useless and should be isolated or eliminated" Authors Martin Correa and Eduardo Mella reported it in their book ("Las razones del illkun/enojo" http://www.lom.cl/a/5b9a3705-9b67-4b9f-af64-e3405bbef257/Mart%C3%ADn-Correa.aspx) Today, when Mapuche protest about their stolen lands and wage protests for the environmental damage forestry companies produce, they receive what is called Chile's, "Dirty War" against the Mapuche people. Milton Friedman was right what was needed in order to get the most out of the country: in 1973 he supported a military Coup and the outrageous repression that put the country and its economy on its knees, Actually, this was the direct advice of President Nixon after Salvador Allende's election. An interesting and enlightening book about Chile's recent and repressive history (and other places in the world) is Naomi Klein book and videos: http://www.naomiklein.org/shock-doctrine and http://vimeo.com/26718047
The small article about President Bachelet, mentioned in The Santiago Times, shows her true colours: while she meets and makes agreements with big business (Mitsubishi, in this case, seeks new opportunities!), she refuses to meet Chilean First Nations, students, communities and workers from all sectors. Her heart is with big business and that is what she has supported. She is well received for those reasons by Chile's social, political and controlling economic powers. She provided, in her first presidential term, very, very low wages, little to no union rights and a continuous support for repression (and criminalisation of First Nations).
She has indeed, never made a single mention of the many police excesses that occurred during her government, included those when First Nation's people were murdered. The President even refused to meet the parents of Matias Catrileo, a Mapuche Agronomy student at University of La Frontera, and Jaime Mendoza Collio, a young Mapuche leader, both killed by the police during her first term. Special Forces are protected and any crime made by them are put on trial under Military Courts. This implies a complete violation of the key basis of Due Process. It ensures that the armed forces and police are always protected with impunity, as this is entrenched in Pinochet's Constitution, as is an immoral Anti-Terrorist Law. UN rapporteurs on Indigenous people, when reviewing Chile's case, have consistently rejected Chile's antiterrorist law that is constantly used (openly or undercover). Unfortunately, Chilean presidents, in the past and now, have never included to demand from the police or judiciary powers to respect peoples' rights.
|Barrick Gold reached an agreement with local indigenous communities as part of its aim to recommence construction at the mine. Photo via Barrick Gold Corporation / Facebook (Published in the Santiago Times)|
Regarding Mining companies, the largest economic export for the country, Bachelet has never kept her promises: Pascua Lama (large investment of Barrick Gold, from Canada, which overrides Chile and Argentina in the north of both countries) was not supposed to start as all reports were indicating major upcoming environmental damages as well as the little to no contribution that it could provide Chileans in any form. Barrick used also all forms of social bribing which were defeated, eventually, in Court, by the regional communities. It is this that Barrick's is trying "to solve" now. Thus far, the President has not mentioned in her "reforms" a return of the cooper mining into the hands of the public sector, a nationwide demand for nationalisation of the mining industry. If that were to be done, for sure, Chile would be able to implement all fundamental rights -i.e. health, education, decent salaries, proper housing, social security and proper industrialisation, beyond extractive processes, which would contribute to Chile's still unavailable social wellbeing. Industries were massive closed after the Coup of the Armed Forces and the international aggressive support.