Things That Matter

Someone Offered A ‘Live The Revolution’ Experience On Airbnb In Chile And The Insensitivity And Disrespect Is Just Baffling

Someone was offering an Airbnb “experience” that involved “living the revolution.” The two-hour ‘experience’ offered a tour of Santiago’s Plaza Italia but the offer prompted fierce backlash against effort to monetize protest and was quickly taken down by the platform. 

An Airbnb tour in Chile promised the chance to ‘live the revolution’.

The two-hour “experience” offered a tour of Santiago’s Plaza Italia, which has become ground zero for a wave of mass demonstrations over social and economic inequality.

The tour was monetizing the revolution.

Priced at 19,000 Chilean pesos —about $25 USD, the excursion included a bottle of water and protective eye goggles —a nod to those worn by protesters to shield themselves from birdshot and rubber-coated pellets shot by riot police.

“Live the revolution” was up on Airbnb Experiences

www.airbnb.com

The insensitive tour was promoted on Airbnb Experiences, a platform offering “one-of-a-kind activities hosted by locals” – but was withdrawn from the site just a few days after it went live, following huge criticism on social media.

A local ideated the tour.

Promotor Sebastián Nieto told local media that he came up with the idea of the tour after noting foreign visitors’ fascination with the demonstrations. “I realized that at the protests there are always lots of spectators, people taking photos,” he said. “Of course there is a backdrop of social issues – which is totally valid – but there’s also a playful element.”

But the experience was met with a lot of backlash.

Chileans responded with fury, with some claiming the tour was a violation of Airbnb’s safety policies, while others condemned its insensitivity. “The social struggle is NOT a business” read one tweet.

The protests have been taking place for more than 3 months now.

Several clashes have unfolded at Plaza Italia between protesters and the police for almost three months. According to reports, hundreds of thousands of people have joined the rallies since they began in September as they called for radical changes to the country’s economic and political system over alleged corruption claims. The country’s security forces have also been accused of a spate of grave human rights abuses in their response to the marches, that have left at least 26 people dead and thousands more injured.

The UN human rights office reported that it had heard 345 cases involving people suffering eye injuries caused by lead pellets fired from police shotguns.

In a statement, Airbnb said: “The safety of our host and guest community is a priority for Airbnb. If we are made aware that an experience and/or host violates our platform policies, community standards, or terms of service, we take action. This experience is no longer available.”

This is a movement against capitalism.

Protester Mario Hans, who has gone to Plaza Italia every day since the unrest began said to newspaper The Guardian, that he was uncomfortable at the idea that anyone would profit from Chile’s political uprising. “This is a movement against capitalism, for equality,” he said. “The first goal here should be to inform, not to charge.”

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Watch the Stunning Video of the Total Eclipse that Plunged Argentina and Chile Into Darkness

Things That Matter

Watch the Stunning Video of the Total Eclipse that Plunged Argentina and Chile Into Darkness

Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images

Thousands of observers gathered in parts of Chile and Argentina on Monday to witness a rare and stunning total solar eclipse. The natural phenomenon is the second solar eclipse to be visible in Chile in the last 18 months.

Because of the perfect timing this time around, this year’s eclipse was especially breathtaking.

The sky got especially dark this year because this eclipse occurred both during the summer in the Southern Hemisphere and closer to the middle of the day. The sun was higher in the sky, making the change from lightness to darkness especially stark.

A solar eclipse happens when the earth, the moon and the sun are in total alignment. It’s a phenomenon that is actually rare in most solar systems. Our solar system is unique in that our moon is the perfect size to be able to block out the sun.

Thousands of people traveled hundreds of miles, some even camping out over night to get the chance to observe the rare phenomenon. The biggest crowds gathered in the Araucanía region 500 miles south of Santiago, Chile’s capital. The gatherers were wearing face masks and special protective glasses so they could watch the eclipse without damaging their eyes.

Photo by MARTIN BERNETTI/AFP via Getty Images

The solar eclipse had special significance for the Mapuche indigenous community in Chile.

“In Mapuche culture the eclipse has different meanings — they talk about ‘Lan Antu’, like the death of the sun and the conflict between the moon and the sun,” said Estela Nahuelpan, a leader in the indigenous Mateo Nahuelpan community, to the Agence France-Presse (AFP). “It refers to the necessary balance that has to exist in nature.”

In Mapuche legend, during a solar eclipse, the the sun temporarily dies when it battles against an unknown evil force known as “Wekufu”. Indigenous expert Juan Nanculef told the AFP that the Mapuche people used to light bonfires and throw stones and arrows into the sky to help the sun in its fight against Wekufu.

In days past, the Mapuche community would consider an eclipse like this a bad omen. There is still a bit of superstition that lingers around the phenomenon. A man named Diego Ancalao, who is a member of the Mapuche community, told CBS News that the last solar eclipse in 2019 was followed by civil unrest in Chile as well as a global pandemic.

Here’s to hoping that this eclipse is a sign of all of the good times ahead!

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Mexico Announces 11 New Pueblos Mágicos And It’s The Post-COVID Travel Lust We All Need Right Now

Culture

Mexico Announces 11 New Pueblos Mágicos And It’s The Post-COVID Travel Lust We All Need Right Now

Alfredo Mancia / Getty Images

Although Mexico is literally one of seven countries that U.S. citizens can travel to right now amid the global Coronavirus pandemic, it doesn’t mean that we should all pack up our suitcases and hop on a plane. In fact, U.S. visitors to the country are already causing a spike in cases across the country.

However, Mexico is looking forward to a post-COVID world and the hopeful return of tourism to the country, which so many Mexicans depend on for their livelihoods.

With that in mind, the government is expanding its widely successful ‘Pueblo Magico’ program that highlights cities and towns across the country for historical, architectural and/or cultural contributions to the country.

Just last week, officials announced 11 new pueblos to the list of 121 existing destinations on the list, with the hope that these new communities will become pillars of the economy and help drive tourism and much-needed growth.

Mexico adds 11 new destinations to the successful ‘Pueblo Mágico’ program.

Mexico has long been a popular destination for travelers from around the world. But much of that tourism (and along with the economic benefits) has focused on the large coastal resorts, like Puerto Vallara and Cancun. The government hoped to help diversify that development when it launched the ‘Pueblo Mágico’ program, by bringing tourists to typically less traveled destinations.

Now, the list of 121 existing “magical towns” has grown by 11 more as the government announced new destinations to the list for 2021.

Mexico’s lakeside community of Ajijic, Jalisco, and the small port of Sisal, Yucatán, are among 11 new “Magical Towns” announced last week by the federal Tourism Ministry. The other nine new Pueblos Mágicos are Isla Aguada, Campeche; Maní, Yucatán; Mexcaltitán, Nayarit; Paracho, Michoacán; Santa Catarina Juquila, Oaxaca; Santa María del Río, San Luis Potosí; Tetela de Ocampo, Puebla; Tonatico, México state; and Zempoala, Hidalgo.

Announcing the new Magical Towns at a virtual press conference, Tourism Minister Miguel Torruco said that they and the existing ones will become “pillars of the regional and national economy” under the current federal government.

He also said that domestic tourism – many of the Pueblos Mágicos rely heavily on local visitors – will be “the driving force” of the tourism recovery amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

As we wait for a post-COVID world, here’s a look at some of the highlights from these incredible pueblos mágicos.

Located south of Guadalajara on the banks of Lake Chapala, Ajijic has a population of around 10,000 people, a large number of whom are retired expats from the United States and Canada. The town has a lakeside malecón, or promenade, a well-maintained central square, cobblestone streets and several art galleries among other attractions.

Sisal will likely grow into a very popular tourist destination.

Sisal is located about 50 miles northwest of Mérida on the Gulf of Mexico coast. Formerly Yucatán’s main port, it is now a sleepy beach town with fewer than 2,000 residents. The town’s name comes from the Sisal plant, a species of agave that yields a sturdy fiber that was once shipped abroad from the Yucatán port. Sisal, the town, has a fort, pier and an abundance of mangroves that can be visited on a tour with a local guide.

Also in the state of Yucatán, Maní is a small city about 65 miles south of Mérida. Inhabited by the indigenous Mayan people for thousands of years, the newly-minted Pueblo Mágico has a 16th-century church and convent. Uxmal, one of the Yucatán Peninsula’s most impressive archaeological sites, is located less than a hour’s drive to the west.

In Michoacán, Paracho draws on its rich traditions.

The guitar making hub of Paracho, located about 75 miles west of Michoacán’s capital Morelia, is the sixth new town on the Pueblos Mágicos list. Full of shops that sell handmade guitars and other stringed instruments, Paracho’s fame was enhanced by the animated Day of the Dead-inspired Disney-Pixar film Coco because an artisan who trained there was responsible for the design of the main characters’s white guitar.

Oaxaca already has its fair share of pueblos mágicos but this new addition was much welcomed.

Inland from the Oaxaca resort town of Puerto Escondido is Santa Catarina Juquila, a town of about 6,000 people best known for its church. The Santuario de Nuestra Señora Imaculada de Juquila (Shrine of Our Immaculate Lady of Juquila) houses a small statue of the Juquila virgin, which has been venerated for hundreds of years. As a result, the church is a popular destination for Catholic pilgrims.

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