Fernanda Carvajal, 15, is studying at Vic High and living in Oak Bay as an international student this fall. Carvajal has been building awareness of the Chile protests by waving her flag on Oak Bay Ave. (Travis Paterson/News Staff)

Chilean teen brings protest to Victoria streets

Chile’s peaceful protest unseen, says visiting student

If you saw a teenage girl holding a Chilean flag on the side of Douglas Street last weekend, that was Fernanda Carvajal.

The 15-year-old is a Santiago resident living in Oak Bay as an international student attending Vic High. Meanwhile back at home, her friends and family are in the midst of civil unrest unlike anything since the country’s social oppression experienced during the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet from 1973 to 1990, Carvajal said.

To curtail the recent protests, the Chilean government declared a state of emergency and sent military troops into the streets. There’s also a 7 p.m. curfew. And while social media videos of excessive military violence against the protesters are spreading around the world, there is also a peaceful protest underway known as cacerolazos.

READ MORE: Protester threatens citizen’s arrest during federal funding announcement in Oak Bay

In cacerolazos, which stems from the word casserole or stew, residents bang pots and pans with a spoon. It originated in Chile in 1971, and restarted under the Pinochet regime (until it ended). It has been used in Argentina and other nations since then, and now it is underway in Chile once more.

“You can hear this banging all around your neighbourhood and you know, the protest is on,” Carvajal said, saying it’s how her family protests. “It’s too dangerous to go outside.”

It’s driven the teen to mark up her country’s flag with the translated phrase “the people fight and resist” in Spanish, with “They’re killing us” written in English.

She’s taken the flag to the streets of Victoria and Oak Bay.

Carvajal was on Douglas between Broughton and View streets for two hours on Saturday and Sunday and was standing along Oak Bay Avenue on Monday afternoon.

“It’s hard being away from my country and watching things getting worse, and I want to do something for them,” Carvajal said. “We want a better life. Salaries are miserable and transit costs so much of our wages.”

Chile’s current protests started last week in response to the Chilean government’s announced increase in transit fares. Thousands took to downtown Santiago to protest, and not for the first time this year. This time fires were lit to a factory and other buildings and the government has reported between five and eight people dead because of them, with at least 11 casualties attributed to protests and military clashes.

READ ALSO: The future is Green: South Island student vote unanimous on Green Party

“Everything is getting worse,” Carvajal said. “In a state of emergency, the military can shoot people, and they’re shooting people,” added Carvajal, who doesn’t believe her government’s reports.

Adding fuel to the protest is the allegation that the wealthy president, Sebastian Pinera, hasn’t paid taxes in 30 years despite being widely regarded as a billionaire, Carvajal said. Despite a retraction of the transit fare hike, the protests have continued, and so has the curfew.

On her phone, Carvajal watches social media videos, one after another, of the Chilean military dragging Santiago residents away in scenes of excessive military brutality.

Not enough is being done, and not enough is being talked about, she said.

reporter@oakbaynews.com


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Helping others, especially those struggling with mental health issues, keeps MOD Pizza owner Jim Hayden cooking. (RIck Stiebel/News Staff)
A 1900s writing box found in Greater Victoria contained ink, photos and a letter addressed to Clara McCaubry dated October 14, 1898. (Photo courtesy Suzanne Hervieux)
Mysterious 1900s writing box finds a home among Saanich Archives

Wooden chest owned by early Saanich resident Clara Isabelle McCaubry

(Black Press Media file photo)
Spooky online class cooks up funds for Greater Victoria Imagination Library

United Way Greater Victoria offers how-to for witch cookies, tasty coffin as fundraiser

Murray Rankin has announced he will seek the nomination for the Oak Bay Gordon Head riding in the 2021 provincial election (which could happen in the fall of 2020). The former Minister of Parliament for the Victoria riding from 2012 to 2019.
(MurrayRankin.com)
New Oak Bay-Gordon Head MLA Murray Rankin says he will use his federal connections

Rankin said being part of NDP majority government gives him a strong voice

NDP Leader John Horgan celebrates his election win in the British Columbia provincial election in downtown Vancouver, B.C., Saturday, Oct. 24, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan celebrates projected majority NDP government, but no deadline for $1,000 deposit

Premier-elect says majority government will allow him to tackle issues across all of B.C.

FILE – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau greets Premier John Horgan during a press conference at the BC Transit corporate office following an announcement about new investments to improve transit for citizens in the province while in Victoria on Thursday, July 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
Trudeau congratulates Horgan on NDP’s election victory in British Columbia

Final count won’t be available for three weeks due to the record number of 525,000 ballots cast by mail

Comedic actor Seth Rogen, right, and business partner Evan Goldberg pose in this undated handout photo. When actor Seth Rogen was growing up and smoking cannabis in Vancouver, he recalls there was a constant cloud of shame around the substance that still lingers. Rogen is determined to change that. (Maarten de Boer ohoto)
Seth Rogen talks about fighting cannabis stigma, why pot should be as accepted as beer

‘I smoke weed all day and every day and have for 20 years’

NDP Leader John Horgan elbow bumps NDP candidate Coquitlam-Burke Mountain candidate Fin Donnelly following a seniors round table in Coquitlam, B.C., Tuesday, October 20, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Horgan, NDP head for majority in B.C. election results

Record number of mail-in ballots may shift results

The Canadian border is pictured at the Peace Arch Canada/USA border crossing in Surrey, B.C. Friday, March 20, 2020. More than 4.6 million people have arrived in Canada since the border closed last March and fewer than one-quarter of them were ordered to quarantine while the rest were deemed “essential” and exempted from quarantining. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Majority of international travellers since March deemed ‘essential’, avoid quarantine

As of Oct. 20, 3.5 million travellers had been deemed essential, and another 1.1 million were considered non-essential

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam responds to a question during a news conference Friday October 23, 2020 in Ottawa. Canada’s top physician says she fears the number of COVID-19 hospitalizations and deaths may increase in the coming weeks as the second wave continues to drive the death toll toward 10,000. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada’s top doctor warns severe illness likely to rise, trailing spike in COVID-19 cases

Average daily deaths from virus reached 23 over the past seven days, up from six deaths six weeks ago

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

A Le Chateau retail store is shown in Montreal on Wednesday July 13, 2016. Le Chateau Inc. says it is seeking court protection from creditors under the Companies’ Creditors Arrangement Act to allow it to liquidate its assets and wind down its operations.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Clothing retailer Le Chateau plans to close its doors, files for CCAA protection

Le Chateau said it intends to remain fully operational as it liquidates its 123 stores

Most Read