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

Just Posted

Pet photos with Santa funds pair of Greater Victoria animal-friendly organizations

Broadmead Centre Pets West hosts the events Nov. 30 and Dec. 1

Cloudy with a chance a rain ahead for Wednesday

Plus a look ahead at the weekend

Mysterious polaroid camera left along Metchosin trail reveals art project

Artist ‘Jar Binks’ lays claim to waterproof camera

Thousands of cigarette butts collected and recycled from downtown Victoria

Canisters placed throughout the downtown core have made an impact on local litter

School strike: SD63 says grade 12 students ‘will not lose their graduation year’

Parents, students concerned about educational impact of CUPE 441 strike

‘We love you, Alex!’: Trebek gets choked up by ‘Jeopardy!’ contestant’s answer

The emotional moment came in Monday’s episode when Trebek read Dhruv Gaur’s final answer

POLL: Do you support CUPE workers in their dispute with School District 63?

SD63 schools to remain closed as strike continues Tuesday

Birthday boy: Pettersson nets 2 as Canucks beat Predators

Vancouver ends four-game winless skid with 5-3 victory over Nashville

Judge rejects Terrace man’s claim that someone else downloaded child porn on his phone

Marcus John Paquette argued that other people had used his phone, including his ex-wife

Petition for free hospital parking presented to MP Jody Wilson-Raybould

What started as a B.C. campaign became a national issue, organizer said

Petition to ‘bring back Don Cherry’ goes viral after immigrant poppy rant

Cherry was fired from his co-hosting role for the Coach’s Corner segment on Nov. 11.

Woman airlifted with serious injuries after being struck by car in Nanaimo

Woman, hit in crosswalk, suffers life-threatening injuries; driver co-operating with police

B.C.’s high gasoline prices still a mystery, Premier John Horgan says

NDP plans legislation this month, seeks action from Justin Trudeau

Group walking on thin ice at B.C. lake sparks warning from RCMP

At least seven people were spotted on Joffre Lakes, although the ice is not thick enough to be walked on

Most Read