Earlier this month, a police officer in Santiago, Chile was captured on video pushing a 16-year-old male demonstrator off of a bridge. The boy fell into the canal below, fracturing his wrist and suffering head trauma. He was transported to the hospital and is in stable condition.
The violent video sparked an additional wave of protests against the Carabineros–Chile’s militarized national police force that the officer was a part of.
Before the video surfaced, witnesses who were protesting voiced their anger at the police officer’s actions and demanded that he be brought to justice. Initially, a spokesperson for the Carabineros, General Enrique Monrás, denied any wrongdoing on the part of the officer, claiming that the boy “lost balance and fell”.
Monrás claimed the police force even had footage that refuted the purported events. But when the footage of the boy being pushed over the bridge went public, there was no question as to what happened.
The footage of the incident went viral in Chile, prompting a surge of demonstrations and protests in Santiago–a city already racked with civil unrest.
Days later, Chile opened up an investigation against the police officer, saying the officer “gave false information to the Prosecutor’s Office” and had “abandoned the victim” after throwing him off the bridge. The officer’s lawyer says he was following procedure. Nevertheless, by then the damage had been done.
Following the incident, protestors threw red die into the canal, making it look like it was running red with the metaphorical blood of protestors. The protests are part of an ongoing civil unrest that was sparked by economic inequality in Chile as well as President Sebastián Piñera’s failure to address the people’s concerns.
To make matters worse, the Piñera government has responded to the protests with excessive violence.
In the last year, Chile has been making headlines for permanently blinding protestors with rubber bullets. Protestors claim that Caballeros are deliberately shooting people in the eyes, aiming to blind them for life.
This most recent incident has simply served to bolster the protestors’ claims that they are being treated brutally by the Chilean government. “The police are violent. We can’t bear it anymore,” said a protestor named Carmen Soria to Al Jazeera News. “They’ve raped, tortured, run people over, blinded others, and now, they’re throwing people in the Mapocho river. The government doesn’t want us to protest, doesn’t want us to gather together, but they don’t care that we gather in the busses and in subways like sardines to go to work.”
There’s no denying the fact that dance has a pretty firm place in the hearts of just about every Latin American culture. Across our countries and cultures, and thanks to native and Afro roots, Latin Americans know how to toe step and grind better than the rest of them. From salsa and bachata to danzón and merengue dance has permeated our lives making parties, ceremonies, and even sad occasions some of the most memorable and colorful.
As we celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month, we turned to Latinas to ask about their favorite dances from their cultures and how it has made their life better.
We posed the question “Latin America consists of many different cultural dances. What can you say about the ones from your país? We will be featuring your answers on one of our editorial pieces.”
Check out the answers below!
“CUMBIA! And Joe Arroyo so beautiful said, ‘del Indio tiene la fuerza, y el Negro la fortaleza, que le imprime el movimiento.’”- lauraarendonn
“Ritmos africanos combinados con tambores pre-colombinos y la flambuya y elegancia de los gitanos y corte española. Mi herencia cultural es un sabroso pozole.”- mercedesmelugutierrez
“Chamamé, vanera… – Southern Brazil. Super important to the gaucho culture that southern Brazil shares with argentina and uruguay.”- its.lilas.world
“El baile de los viejitos, Michoacán, México.”- angelyly_