Facts About Human Rights in Chile

Chile was under an oppressive, military dictatorship from 1973 to 1990. Gen. Augusto Pinochet ruled the country and used the failings of the last presidency as a justification for the regime. The dictatorship was characterized by the “disappearances” of thousands of suspected leftists in the earliest months of the regime.

Chilean courts are still prosecuting people for their abuses during the military rule. Many of the perpetrators of human rights offenses have faced reduced sentences. This has resulted in miniscule punishments in comparison to the crimes. Chile is still recovering from its period of military rule.

However, the Chilean people are demanding a change. As a result, legislation is reflecting the demands of its people.

Facts About Human Rights in Chile

  1. The government of Chile has been attempting to rectify past human rights violations from the time of the military period. In December 2015, the Ministry of the Interior’s human rights program announced that justice authorities are investigating 1,048 cases of human rights violations from the military period.
  2. Chilean prisons are filled past capacity. These institutions were functioning at a capacity of 103.2 percent in August of 2016. In some regions, prison capacity was exceeded by 200 percent. In October of that same year, the Santiago Sur Preventive Prison Center reached the volume of 5,057 prisoners, contrary to its maximum capacity of 2,384 inmates. In a 2017 report by the U.S. government, it was noted that the government was working toward a long-term effort to ameliorate this issue.
  3. Living conditions for children under the state are seeing improvement. The National Service for Minors (SENAME) has been under extreme scrutiny after the death of 34 children between January to June of 2016. In 2017, 171 SENAME centers were investigated. Out of 405 children questioned, 197 recounted their abuses. The government responded to the investigation by accelerating the processing of bills to improve the structure of the institution.
  4. Indigenous people still face discrimination. Throughout Chilean history, the Mapuche people have been discriminated against. President Bachelet has publically apologized for the affronts to the Mapuche by the government. Poverty levels have declined and government scholarships are increasing the Mapuche education rates. Furthermore, the government has offered land transfers and increased social spending on this historically mistreated group.
  5. There are still reports of the government using excessive force, especially on indigenous groups. Although the government has developed new ways to investigate and punish police corruption, excessive force and human rights offenses are still being done by the national police force (Carabineros de Chile). Lack of repatriation of ancestral land for the Mapuche people has resulted in years of violent protest. Mapuche activists have led numerous arson attacks as well as protests, targeting churches and logging equipment. The Carabineros as well as security forces have sometimes violently raided southern Chile. As a result, Mapuche arson leaders have been arrested.
  6. In November 2016, President Bachelet signed a bill into law that would change Chile’s criminal code. This bill modernized the nation’s criminal code to obey international standards on torture, cruelty, and inhumane treatment of its citizens. The Public Ministry reported that within the first months of this bill, reports of crimes against humanity rose to 193 percent. Most of these accounts involved groups such as the Carabineros.
  7. The nonprofit, Human Rights Watch, is concerned that the military courts are not yet completely transparent. Typically, Chilean civilian authorities have had control over the Carabineros and Investigative Police, and the government the as infrastructure in place to rectify abuses and prevent corruption. Yet, the military justice system handles these discrepancies. Recently, Human Rights Watch reported that these reports by the military courts may not be effective, and instead are riddled with corruption.
  8. The government of Chile has been rectifying relations with the indigenous communities. In June this year, the government declared its Plan for the Recognition and Development of Araucanía. The goals of this plan include economic development, protection of victims from violence, and the overall promotion of participation from indigenous people. President Bachelet has apologized to the Mapuche People for the wrongs they faced.
  9. The Chilean government has recognized nine distinct indigenous groups in the Law on Indigenous Peoples Protection and Development. The administration created a system to protect these mistreated groups. New services to provide social, cultural and economic development have been implemented.
  10. Chile now has laws against discrimination in the workplace. This law forbids employment discrimination centered on race, sex, civil status, religion, affiliation with a union, politics, disability, sexual orientation and many others. Furthermore, this law offers civil legal options to victims of employment discrimination. This past June, congress passed the Law on Workplace Inclusion, especially for disabled people. The government is doing a very good job at administering anti-discrimination laws. There is no evidence of police or judicial unwillingness to implement these laws. Sanctions have been given to companies denying maternity leave that has generally proven to be deterring violations.

Fighting years against an oppressive government, the future of Chile is looking up. Human rights issues are being acknowledged and global organizations are holding Chile accountable. These facts about human rights in Chile show areas that need improvement, as well as cases in which positive strides are being made. Cases of discrimination are being acknowledged and challenged, preventing the government and companies from continuing prejudice.

– Stefanie Babb

Photo: Flickr

poverty in Santiago










Santiago, Chile is a magnetic city that draws many people in because of the city’s alluring cultural life. Chile’s industry is mostly congregated in the Greater Santiago region.

Cultural Importance in Santiago

The industries consist of textiles, shoes, clothes, food products, copper mining and metallurgy have made this region prosperous. As a result, there has been a rise of a growing financial district known for its stock exchange and banking.

Even though Santiago is often viewed as an industrial hub, many in this prosperous city are left with little and struggle to survive. To recognize the needs of Santiago, here are 10 key facts about poverty in Santiago.

10 Key Facts About Poverty in Santiago

  1. Poverty rates are on the rise. Recent studies have shown a rise in the city’s poverty levels. Although Santiago remains below the national poverty rate of 15.2 percent, poverty in Santiago increased by about 1 percent between 2007 and 2010. Poverty levels grew by 1.4 percent, while the gap between the rich and poor dropped by 5.1 percent.
  2. Low-income families receive healthcare. Primary healthcare centers provide an array of services and are an essential part of the healthcare network. Preventative services are incentivized and the populations are divided into sectors to have a regular source of care. However, PHCs do not have sufficient resources.
  3. Water is commodified. Millions of people are left without water and warning for several days. Privatization of water was established in 1981 under General Pinochet. Grievances with the commodification of water has been exacerbated by the growing loom of climate change and the ultimate disappearance of the glaciers.
  4. Health education is lacking. Health education is lacking and many of the city’s poorest residents develop preventable diseases as a result. Addison Williams, an aid volunteer, noted the inadequate health education and stated the resulting conditions present. Preventable diseases that often plague animals are common among the children that play on the street. The CDC reported that Chagas disease is a great risk for those living in “poor-quality housing.” Although no vaccines or drugs can prevent the infection, better housing conditions, bed nets, and residual-action insecticides are effective preventative measures.
  5. Government implemented ‘Operation Site’ to alleviate housing inequalities. The population of Santiago doubled between 1940 and 1960, resulting in a housing crisis. The Ministry of Housing was established in 1965, and soon began to implement ‘Operation Site,’ which offered land to the residents. The system did not have clear guidelines, nor clear initiatives. Some families were given a wooden house, while others were given electricity and running water but no house. Today, the consequences of ‘Operation Site’ remain unclear and debated. Opponents say that the poor were social segregated. However, the results have been largely beneficial for those living in the government-sponsored spots.
  6. The poorest families live in a campomento. A campomento, or shanty town, exists because of abrupt growth in urban areas. In the campomento, poverty in Santiago is evident and the city’s poorest residents have found a home. The communities are often surrounded by trash and homes are constructed from remaining wood and doors that had been disposed of prior. Roofs are fabricated by metal scrapped sheets found within the dumps. There are no floors. Instead the residents of the campomento use rugs to cover the dirt.
  7. Santiago’s rich and poor are divided. The wealthiest part of the city, northeastern Santiago, is a stark contrast to the poorest areas in the south and northwestern parts. Centers of culture are congregated at the center of the city. Shopping malls and new cultural buildings are being placed in already high-income parts of the city. In the south, where poverty in Santiago is evident, important buildings, like high schools, are being underdeveloped. Instead, these regions are known for landfills and jails. Luis Valenzuela, Universidad Católica’s Observatory of Cities executive director, believes that parks could be used as a tool to improve low-income areas.
  8. The average salary is $861. The industrial and financial center of Chile, Santiago generates 45 percent of the country’s GDP. Job prospects have been high, and the economy has seen growth; however, the average salary is just $861.
  9. Average education for Heads of Household is nine years. In some of the most poverty-stricken neighborhoods of Santiago, such as Lo Espejo, only one out of five youths have access to higher education. Moreover, the average family’s head of household has only reached nine years of education. Many students do not place much of an importance on education; instead, many often turn to illegal activities. Andrew Ireland, worked for a semester in Centro Abierto Santa Adriana (CASA). The organization has sought to keep children enrolled in school. CASA has provided a place for community children to stay during the day when they were not at school. The organization has proven successful in offering a safe place to study and for the children to stay out of trouble.
  10. UNESCO Santiago attended an Assessment for Global Learning. A World Bank Symposium compiled an array of experts to develop tools and approaches to monitor learning. UNESCO Santiago was in attendance, a clear indication that change in Santiago’s education is necessary. The symposium dealt with various questions about measuring learning and how governments can utilize these tools.

Aid groups, such as the Chilean Red Cross have implemented tactics to improve healthcare in Santiago. They are trained to respond to epidemic controls, as well as promoting healthcare education and preventing diseases. Among the highest of the International Federation of Red Cross’s goals is fostering community empowerment.

– Stefanie Babb
Photo: Flickr

women’s rights in Chile
President Michelle Bachelet of Chile leaves office in March 2018. During her two terms as president, Bachelet worked tirelessly to advance women’s rights in Chile. She leaves a legacy of legislative victories in the fight for gender equality.

Bachelet entered government as an advisor in the Health Ministry. She served as Chile’s first female health minister in 2002 and its first female defense minister in 2002. She became Chile’s president in 2006. Her victory depended on the support of women — Bachelet’s victory was the first time a majority of women in Chile supported a left-of-center presidential candidate.


Time in Office

During her first term as president, Bachelet championed legislation to further women’s rights in Chile. She passed protections for victims of domestic violence, fought workplace discrimination, reformed the pension system to be fairer to women, gave low-income mothers better access to childcare and introduced universal access to emergency contraception. 

Chile’s conservative governing coalition strongly opposed Bachelet’s plan to expand availability of emergency contraception. Bachelet avoided Congress by issuing executive orders to mandate that public clinics offer free emergency contraception. Her conservative congressional challengers won an appeal in the Constitutional Court, causing Bachelet to instead pursue legislative approval. The bill was popular with the public and supported through mass demonstrations against the court’s ruling. Bolstered by public approval, Bachelet fast-tracked the bill and it was approved in 2010. 


Between Presidencies

Bachelet left office in 2010, unable to run for a second consecutive term due to constitutional limitations. She became the first Executive Director of the newly created U.N. Women. As the head of the organization, Bachelet worked to realize U.N. Women’s agenda — ending violence against women, economically empowering women, including women in global peace and security planning, increasing the number of women in leadership positions and influencing countries to focus national policies and budgets on increasing gender equity.


Return to Politics

Bachelet then returned to politics, winning a second term as president of Chile in 2013. In her second term, Bachelet created the Ministry of Women and Gender Equality. She also passed legislation requiring that women make up 40 percent of candidates running for an elected office.

In 2017, the Constitutional Court of Chile ruled in favor of a reproductive rights bill introduced by Bachelet. The bill legalizes abortions in extreme cases — abortions were previously illegal in all instances. Bachelet’s bill was bolstered by public support — 70 percent of Chileans approved of the legislation.


A Strong Legacy and Continued Impact

After exiting office in March 2018, Bachelet will start as Board Chair of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) Partnership for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health where she will continue to advocate for women’s rights in Chile.

“Promoting progress towards building a more equitable and just world, that guarantees the rights of women and girls, is more than a challenge,” says Bachelet. “It’s a necessity and an obligation.”

 – Katherine Parks

Photo: Flickr

Water quality in Chile

Latin America is notorious for having poor water quality. Worried travelers and residents try to avoid drinking tap water or cooking with it. But most people do not know the facts about water quality in Chile. Here are a few from the north of the country all the way to its southern tip.

In northern Chile is the Atacama Desert, which is known as one of the driest places on Earth. This area, which contains many small towns and villages, receives about one millimeter or less of rainfall per year. Certain towns used to obtain water from a nearby well which was fed by a river flowing down from the Andes Mountains. However, out of the 20 wells, only one exists today. It is common for people here to buy bottled water; however, bottled water is nearly 10 times the cost of tap water.

Central Chile is where most of the bigger cities are located, and Santiago, the capital, is one of them. Very little water comes from the mountains on the outskirts of the city. Temperatures are rising, glaciers are retreating and the mountains are gradually losing their snow-capped peaks. Water availability is predicted to fall by nearly 40 percent by 2070, and experts are claiming that water will become the most important physical commodity worldwide, toppling oil and precious metals. The situation in Santiago is so bad that residents have staged multiple protests over the privatization of the water industry, which occurred in 1981.

Maybe the most iconic area of the country is Patagonia, in the southern portion of the country. Residents, researchers and travelers flock to this sparsely populated region of Chile. Some American and Chilean scientists claim that the Chilean Patagonia has the purest water on the planet. Dr. Guido F. Verbeck, director of the UNT Laboratory of Imaging Mass Spectrometry, said of Patagonia’s water, “Our results confirm that these waters are clean, the cleanest waters existing on the planet. In fact, the instruments we use to study the samples can detect chemical compounds in the water up to two parts per million, and here, we did not detect anything.” There is very little pollution in this part of the world. Unpolluted freshwater accounts for .003 percent of the total water available globally and most of it is found here.

There are many issues with water quality in Chile. From pollution and overpopulation to excessive mining and the draining of natural resources, it could be the reason that selling water in some cities is one of the highest tariffs in Latin America. There is some good news regarding the water quality in Chile, however. More wells have been dug, residents have set up reverse osmosis water purification systems and the country is implementing a national irrigation strategy that includes a plan to construct 15 reservoirs. If Chile continues to be proactive about maintaining its water resources, it can ensure good water quality and access for all of its citizens.

– Lorial Roballo

Photo: Flickr

Chile's Level of Poverty

The number of people living below the national poverty line in Chile has varied throughout the years. This number currently stands at around three million citizens, whereas the number of people living on less than $1.90 a day has successfully reached its lowest point of 0.9 percent of the population.

Clearly, Chile’s level of poverty has fluctuated, especially seeing as how Chile was once considered to be one of the richest countries in Latin America. During this time, the country achieved the title of the first South American member of the OECD, a club mostly consisting of prosperous countries.

Poverty in Chile is often overlooked due to the lack of social equality, according to human rights expert Professor Philip Alton. While Chile’s anti-poverty programs are abundant, the middle class seems to be their primary focus, and those who are less fortunate are overlooked.

Alton calls attention to Chile’s tendency to participate in the exclusion of particular groups of people, contributing to its issue of poverty. According to Alton, “Efforts to eliminate extreme poverty in Chile cannot succeed without a concerted focus on the situation of indigenous peoples.” As with many other countries, the solution to ending poverty in Chile relies partly on spreading awareness of marginalization and privilege, as well as giving the lower class more attention and tools for success and not merely focusing on the middle class.

To put these solutions into action, the General Law of Ministries – now known as the Ministry of Finance, which formed in 1927 – has developed plans based on the roots of Chile’s level of poverty. The Ministry of Finance’s goal is to focus on long-term economic growth, rather than simply tending to the “right now.” Its mission is to create a stable economy that benefits all citizens of Chile, but especially those who are most likely to struggle with money.

The economic policy section of the Ministry of Finance is responsible for the awareness of problems within Chile’s economic system, as well as providing solutions to these issues. This helps them to prepare the national budget and contributes to bettering the community socially.

With the implementation of these kinds of plans as well as spreading awareness of poverty-causing issues, there is much hope for the poorest citizens of Chile. A better economy in Chile’s near future is looking to be promising, which will surely have positive effects on the poverty rate as well.

Noel Mcdavid

Photo: Flickr

How to Help People in ChileChile is an elongated country in South America, located adjacent to the Pacific Ocean. According to the Central Intelligence Agency, as of June 2016 the population in Chile was 17,650,114, which is about 5.3 percent of the population of South America.

About 14 percent of this Spanish-speaking nation is below the poverty rate. Although the government has been working to improve conditions and livelihoods for Chile’s residents, the anti-poverty organizations currently in place have not been particularly helpful.

United Nations Special Rapporteur, Philip Alston, stated that Chile “continues to tolerate levels of poverty and inequality which are very high for a country belonging to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).”

Chile needs support in the areas of education, income equality and human rights in order to prosper in today’s society. Here are just a few ways to help people in Chile:

1. Educate

In Chile, 99.5 percent of the population speaks Spanish, whereas 10.2 percent speak English. In a changing global society, Chile has realized that it is important to educate children in the English language so that they can be more communicative and productive in their future endeavors.

The English Open Doors Program is an organization that is looking for English teachers to volunteer four months of their time in Chile. Literacy rates in Chile are already very high – 96 percent – and therefore just need a little extra help to become extremely successful.

2. Equality For All

Gender inequality in the workforce is a huge issue in Chile. Alston says, “Women’s participation in the workforce needs to be facilitated by a range of measures that include better community care facilities, and better economic rewards for currently unpaid female care workers.”

To help eliminate this discrimination in the workforce, labor laws and reform programs are needed. If you’re wondering how to help people in Chile with this issue even though you live thousands of miles away, there is a simple solution: advocating. Even though you may not be able to picket on Chilean streets, you can raise awareness by posting signs around town, for instance, and getting people to talk about this issue.

3. Human Rights

Aside from the inequality in the workplace in Chile, discrimination in regards to human rights has also been a pressing issue. According to Alston, “There is a deep need for an entity with the responsibility, authority, funds and resources to coordinate government-wide human rights policies.”

Whether this is in regard to sexual education for young women or protection rights for the poorest in Chile, “Mr. Alston called for a specific, integrated plan to tackle both poverty and extreme poverty and for more effective coordination mechanisms.”

Chile’s government and reform programs have been working hard to reduce inequalities and human rights issues, but have so far proven to be insufficient. Are you wondering how to help people in Chile with these issues? The simplest way to work toward equality and peace in Chile is to raise awareness of these problems. Post signs on the walls of your local coffee shop, talk to your co-workers or even contact your congressional leaders about supplying aid to the Chilean people who need it most.

Sydney Missigman

Photo: Flickr

Human Rights in Chile
During the period of 1973 to 1990, Chile was occupied by a military rule under Augusto Pinochet. In these two decades, General Manuel Contreras, who commanded Pinochet’s secret police, was responsible for an alarming number of violations of human rights in Chile.

It seems many of Chile’s current human rights issues derive from this era, as the Constitution adopted during the military government under General Pinochet made provisions outside of international human rights law. Between April and August 2016, the Chilean government began a consultation process open to all citizens as the first step toward drafting and adopting a new Constitution. The process is ongoing.

It was reported in March 2015 by the chief justice of Chile that 1,056 cases of human rights violations from the previous military rule were under investigation. A tenth of the cases was for torture, and other cases included killings and enforced disappearances. For example, in 1986, during a street protest, two teenagers were set on fire, killing one and maiming the other for life. Soldiers were forced under duress to testify that the students accidentally burned themselves with their own Molotov cocktail. It was revealed in 2014 that a patrol commander ordered soldiers to douse the students in gasoline and set them on fire.

Torture in the period of Contreras is not the only violation of human rights in Chile. Currently, torture is a common problem for detainees. Additionally, detainees are placed into overcrowded prisons where they often face repeated torture and violence.  More than 2,000 inmates were surveyed in 2013 by a Chilean prison service, and it was noted that more than 30 percent claimed to have suffered violence from prison guards and over 20 percent claimed to have been tortured. Chile’s current criminal code does not ban or address torture in any form.

Another issue present under the current constitution comes from the power that military courts possess over the legal process. For abuses committed by the Carabineros, the uniformed police, military courts usually hold the cases. Under the military courts, criminal proceedings lack independence and due process guaranteed under normal criminal proceedings; the investigations are held in secret, usually only conducted in writing; and most of the time lawyers cannot cross-examine witnesses.

While there are still many steps Chile needs to take in addressing both its past and on going human rights violations, it has recognized these as problems and is making progress towards prosecuting human rights offenders and ensuring this is a part of its history never to be repeated. Hopefully, after a new constitution is drafted, Chile can look away from its dark past and towards a better future.

James Hardison

Photo: Flickr

Common Diseases in Chile
Home to 17 million people, the longest country in the world has made great strides to become a developed country. From 2000 to 2015, Chile’s poverty rate decreased from 26 percent to 7.9 percent. With a growing economy and unemployment rates at a stable level, life in Chile is signaling progress, but there are still common diseases in Chile that need to be addressed.

Diarrheal Diseases
Common among third world countries, diarrheal diseases continue to hold Chile back. Although Chile is widely regarded as a developed country, this antiquated disease is still a problem. Diarrhea is most common among tourists as contaminated water and uncooked food are the disease’s leading causes. Tourists are unaccustomed to the food and unaware of what may or may not be safe to eat, and thereby are perfect victims of this watery disease. Diarrheal diseases are a problem for the citizens of Chile as well.

Nineteen out of 100,000 people die every year in Chile due to diarrheal diseases. This number may seem relatively low, but for a country that claims to be developed, it is much higher than it should be. The treatment is relatively simply as clean water and food is all that is necessary to contain the disease. These two necessities have proved difficult for Chile as contaminated food and water cause a number of other diseases as well.

Cardiovascular Disease
Cardiovascular diseases continue to be prevalent among developed countries and are some of the common diseases in Chile. Twenty-seven percent of deaths are attributed to these diseases. The probability of dying from a cardiovascular disease in Chile is gradually increasing and continues to rank up above diabetes and cancer in terms of the number of fatalities caused.

Barely trailing behind cardiovascular diseases, cancer is the cause 26 percent of all deaths in Chile. Similar to cardiovascular disease, cancer is found in developed countries around the world. Out of all forms of cancer, gastric cancer is the most common in Chile.

The average number of deaths related to gastric cancer is 3,000 every year. Typically, 15 per 100,000 women and 13 per 100,000 men are killed by gastric cancer. These numbers are higher than anywhere else but East Asia.

There are many factors that determine how developed a state is. For Chile, diarrheal diseases show that there are still some ways to go but that many diseases associated with developing countries are being managed. Of the common diseases in Chile, diarrheal diseases are the only ones with significance in terms of how Chile is doing socially and economically. It will take time to eradicate the diseases, but Chile has a healthy future.

Sophie Casimes

Photo: Google

Poverty in Chile
Chile is currently struggling with its finances and education system. A public charity called Hogar De Cristo conducted a survey concluding that 58 percent of Chileans found that a lack of opportunities and education were the leading causes of poverty in Chile.

This recognition has shown that poverty in Chile, as well as poverty in general, is multidimensional rather than solely related to a lack of money. In addition to those mentioned above, Chileans accredit their poverty to laziness, addictions, lack of state support, abandonment and disease.


Poverty in Chile: Facts and Figures


Poverty in Chile has a fairly low percentage of 14.4 percent, which is lower than the United States. However, Chile’s problem lies in the country’s high rates of income inequality: and this alone has driven around 10 percent of people into poverty.

The inequality also reverts back to the poor education systems. There are approximately 75,000 Chilean children who do not attend school. The number of uneducated closely correlates with those living in the deepest poverty.

At first glance, Chile’s economy appears stable. In fact, in 2011, Chile was even voted as the 44th country for highest human development rates by the United Nations. These rankings were achieved by collecting the national averages, meaning that this can hide the truth about the country’s inequality.

In truth, 75 percent of growth out of 8.4 percent went to the rich, and only 10 percent went to the poor. This information is not clear in reports about the nation. The world acknowledges Chile as a developed country, but only 20 percent have incomes matching those of a developed country. The rest, what is hidden, exposes the true extent of poverty in Chile.

The Chilean economy is reliant on copper prices. Chile’s GDP rises when prices go up, but this alone does not create jobs that lead to prosperity. The truth about poverty in Chile shows that the GDP growth does not always benefit the majority of people.

In order to reduce poverty in Chile, national and international education reform advocates suggest significantly increasing expenditures in education. The goal would be to produce quality institutions and in turn, reduce poverty. Some economists even suggest a change in tax rates, because the low tax rates are one main reason why inequality has not been reduced. By fixing the tax problems, Chile could solve issues like the poor education and poverty significantly.

Katelynn Kenworthy

Photo: Pixabay

Cost of Living in Chile
The cost of living in Chile is fairly steep compared to its neighboring countries, and poverty in the region has made it difficult for low-income families to live comfortably. However, recent hikes in the country’s minimum wage have begun to lessen the burden of the high cost of living for low-income families.

According to an article published in International Living, Chile has one of the highest costs of living relative to what people earn in South America. Despite the country’s relatively high living costs, Chile’s infrastructure and its middle class have continued to steadily develop. The economy is also considered to be fairly stable.

The article found that when living comfortably in downtown Santiago, the capital of Chile, monthly rent was a little over $400 per month and building fees were close to $100. Electricity costs around $50 each month and essential items came to about $80. Overall, the monthly cost of living in this city was just shy of $1,000, which is more than two times the average monthly workers’ wage.

According to a report from Bloomberg, Chile’s monthly minimum wage rose to 270,000 pesos ($400) effective July 1, 2017. The monthly minimum wage is expected to increase to 276,000 pesos ($409) starting January 1, 2018.

A report from the United Nations revealed that the cost of living in Chile is often overlooked when poverty is examined in the region. Philip Alston, a United Nations Special Rapporteur, said that because of Chile’s noteworthy anti-poverty programs, poverty in the region often goes “under the radar.”

“It remains to be seen whether the current middle class-driven political and social agenda will pay sufficient attention to the tragedy of those living in poverty,” he said in the report.

Alston added that poverty and economic inequalities are persistent in the area. “Persistent inequalities result in a highly segregated society, in which separate residential areas, separate schools, and separate employment markets operate to entrench privilege and stifle mobility,” he stated.

While the cost of living in Chile has become slightly less stressful to members of the lower class, the country still needs to make great strides ahead in order to support its low-income families.

Leah Potter

Photo: Pixabay