Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Latin American ‘Oasis’ Is Shaken by Worst Unrest in Decades

  • A free-market exemplar has many citizens who feel left behind
  • They face failing pensions, inequality -- and 2-hour commutes
A protester runs as tear gas is fired during a protest in Santiago, Oct. 21.
A protester runs as tear gas is fired during a protest in Santiago, Oct. 21.Photographer: Cristobal Olivares/Bloomberg
Updated on

Just weeks before the worst civil unrest since Chile returned to democracy 29 years ago, President Sebastian Pinera described the country as “a true oasis” amid Latin American turmoil.

The billionaire investor-turned-politician isn’t alone in his glowing assessment of a country that regularly tops regional prosperity metrics. However, the deadly upheaval of the past four days shows the chasm between the Andean exemplar’s elite and those who feel abandoned.