Chile faces social crisis

Saturday, 2019-11-16 10:50:30
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Members of the security forces take position during a protest against Chile's government in Santiago, Chile, on November 14, 2019. (Photo: Reuters)
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NDO – On November 14, Chile's Finance Minister Ignacio Briones said that the country could lose 300,000 jobs due to the impact of four weeks of rioting, reported Reuters.

Briones stated it is likely that the unemployment rate will jump 3% in the coming months, while warning that the current social unrest would seriously impact the labour market of the country.

Chile was once considered one of the countries with the most stable labour markets in Latin America. In the third quarter of 2019, before the wave of protests, the unemployment rate in Chile was 7%.

* The value of the peso – the Chilean domestic currency – fell to the lowest level in history, further raising concerns about the risk of rising fuel prices. On November 14, the peso currency plummeted for the third day in a row, when it was traded at only 802 peso to a dollar, setting a record low, after the mark of 795.5 peso to US$1 the previous day.

* Meanwhile, the strikes of sanitation workers have raised concerns about unsafe street sanitation in the capital city of Santiago. On November 14, Chile's Health Ministry expanded health care funding packages for people in six of Chile's 16 regions, in the context of injuries that could be associated with the increasing protests.

* On November 15, Chile announced that it would hold a referendum in 2020 on the replacement of the current constitution, which has been in effect since 1980, to meet the main demands of the protesters after nearly a month of serious social unrest.

Earlier that day, the Chilean National Congress voted to hold the referendum in April 2020. Senate President Jaime Quintana said that in the next referendum, voters will be asked whether the constitution should be replaced and if so, how a new charter should be drafted.