For more than two weeks now, Chile has been at the center of the news, the front pages of newspapers and the homes of our social networks. The words “El pueblo unico jamas sarà vencido” (The united people will never be defeated) resonate in the air and the images of the millions of people in the streets of the capital Santiago – but also of cities like Concepción and Valparaíso – to protest are a testimony that what is happening is much more than just a protest.
It all began with the increase in the price of Santiago’s metro ticket at peak times, generating mass entrances with no metro ticket, which inexorably turned into marches, clashes with the police, fires, and looting of shops. So, in the end, the price of the ticket became the straw that broke the camel’s back, the opportunity for the Chilean people to claim their rights.
It can be said that the situation in Chile was one of apparent calm, but under the surface there were problems and flaws linked to the education, health and tax system, privatization of water and the growing inequality between the rich and middle classes.
The response of President Sebastián Piñera did not satisfy the people, on the contrary, to feel advised not to take the metro at rush hour, to define the social crisis as a war and to feel called “a powerful and implacable enemy that respects nothing and nobody” seems to have ignited even more the minds.
The streets of Santiago have become the stage of a real war that takes place with the eyes of the world pointed at it and there are those who join the demonstrators also manage to restore and show the reality of the situation. I’m talking about Sebastián González, Chilean advertiser, and photographer, who is always looking for new perspectives, new ways to show what surrounds us. We can’t help but look at the shots he publishes on his Instagram profile, which capture the soul of Santiago plunging into the fumes of tear gas, into the carcasses of burnt vehicles, where blue, grey and black seem not to let the sun’s rays through. The darkness, the fear, the army on the street, the insecurity, everything we see in Sebastián’s photographs reopens a wound that has not yet healed, bringing us back to that distant 1973 that changed the history of Chile and beyond.
“Nosotros no estamos en guerra, solo estamos manifestando por nuestros derechos.”
Below is a selection of Sebastián González’s shots.