Things That Matter

Chilean Opera Singer’s Song Touches Hearts Amidst Country State Of Emergency

Frustration over the now-suspended price hike on subway tickets in the Chilean city of Santiago erupted into widespread fury over three weeks ago. Unrest broke out in the country as anger over Chile’s economic inequalities.  Despite its status as one of the most prosperous and stable countries in Latin America, many Chilean citizens have experienced the weight of quickly rising living costs, skyrocketing debt and corruption. Now, violent protests which have resulted in the deaths of over 20 people, have upended Chile putting it in a state of pause as military personal have descended on the streets and the Chilean government has enacted a curfew.  

In a peaceful show of protest, Chilean opera singer Ayleen Jovita Romero, a soprano, performed a heartrending rendition of “El Derecho de Vivir en Paz,” or “The Right to Live in Peace.” In recent decades the song, first released in 1971, has become the country’s national song of protest.

A viral video of Romero has been making the rounds this week after her October 21 performance was shared online.

The video shows Romero putting on a performance of the song on a balcony during the government-imposed curfew which was started after days of clashes amongst protestors and police in Santiago. Since the video’s posting online, it has been viewed over millions of times across the globe and has drawn attention to Chile’s economy-related clashes.

For the past three weeks, Chile has experienced mass protests across the country and specifically in its capital city. 

Spurned by the country’s rising costs of living, the violent protests have resulted in at least 20 deaths and approximately $300 million in damages. On October 18, the government made the decision to declare that it was in a state of emergency and imposed a curfew on Santiago and nearby areas. As of now, the curfew still remains and citizens are required to be inside of their residences from 10 p.m. until 7 a.m.

Speaking about her now-viral performance, Romero shared with Instagram users her reasons for sharing her son.

“We are demonstrating in a peaceful manner during this curfew, all of the neighbors here are supporting the cause, singing and playing their beautiful instrument,” she wrote in a post to her Instagram page. “I invite other artists to do the same in their homes, the people appreciate it and it does them well ❤️ It’s necessary.”

Romer’s performance received a positive and support reaction from the city and those who were lucky enough to witness her sing the song. 

In a video captured by Ernesto Pinto and shared by the Facebook group El Canto Nuevo de Chile, Romero can be seen singing the song as onlookers watch quietly before breaking out into applause. Pinto’s clip was shared to Pinto’s clip was shared to Twitter by a user on Wednesday and has since been viewed over 4 million times.

“El Derecho de Vivir en Paz” has a significant history for the Chilean people. 

The song, which was first recorded and released by beloved folk singer and political activist Víctor Jara was released in 1971. It was originally written in protest of the Vietnam War and was dedicated to the Vietnamese communist leader Ho Chi Minh. The song took on a new and significant meaning in 1973 when the Pinochet regiment took power of Chile and Victor Jara was publicly tortured in front of prisoners for his support of President Salvador Allende. 

Speaking to CNN about her performance, Romero said that she felt that “It was very sad to see how the streets were getting empty. It made me feel helpless, and the first thing I did was to put on the song, ‘El derecho de vivir en paz,’ of Victor Jara. She went onto say that she” came out on the balcony to sing for the people. Never thinking this would go viral. It was beautiful, as people were silent during the song.”

When she was done and listeners broke out into cheers, the song began again with more musicians and singers joining in. “More musician neighbors joined, each one with his part — a violinist, an accordionist, and another singer made all the neighbors sing,” the opera singer told CNN. “It was beautiful and emotional.”

Speaking to CNN about her performance, Romero said that she felt that “It was very sad to see how the streets were getting empty. It made me feel helpless, and the first thing I did was to put on the song, ‘El derecho de vivir en paz,’ of Victor Jara. She went onto say that she” came out on the balcony to sing for the people. Never thinking this would go viral. It was beautiful, as people were silent during the song.”

When she was done and listeners broke out into cheers, the song began again with more musicians and singers joining in. “More musician neighbors joined, each one with his part — a violinist, an accordionist and another singer made all the neighbors sing,” the opera singer told CNN. “It was beautiful and emotional.”

A Latina Studying Abroad In Rome Sang An Opera During The COVID-19 Lockdown And Neighbors Cheered

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A Latina Studying Abroad In Rome Sang An Opera During The COVID-19 Lockdown And Neighbors Cheered

laurenlugo / Instagram

Italy is one of the hardest-hit countries in the COVID-19 pandemic. As of March 17, more than 2,100 people have died in Italy because of COVID-19. The country is on lockdown to prevent the virus from spreading any further. One Latina from Laguna Beach, California brightened the day for her neighbors by singing some opera from her balcony.

Lauren Lugo is a California resident currently studying abroad in Rome.

Credit: laurenlugo / Instagram

The Latina from Laguna Beach is following the dream of so many people of living and studying abroad. She is a student at The American University of Rome, according to her Instagram posts. Italy has been the center of news for the novel coronavirus because of the exponential growth of confirmed cases and deaths from the virus. Currently, Italy has experienced the second-highest number of deaths from COVID-19 behind China.

Recently, the woman shared a video on Instagram of her singing “O Mio Babbino Caro.”

Italy is grappling with an aggressive scenario of the COVID-19 pandemic. There are more than 27,000 cases of coronavirus confirmed in the European country and everything is on lockdown to stop the virus from spreading. Italy has the second-oldest population in the world, second to Japan. The elderly are the most susceptible to the worst of the virus.

Her performance brought a moment of happiness to her neighbors who are dealing with the lockdown. Countries and cities around the world are systematically shutting down to prevent this virus from spreading. However, moments like this give people some hope for the future.

This is the second video from Italy of singing that brought peace and joy to a neighborhood.

The neighborhood located in Siena, Italy joined together to sing “Canto Della Verbena.” The video gave people hope that there might be a way to move forward in this scary and troubling time of self-isolation and quarantine.

People on social media are loving Lugo’s intimate performance.

Credit: iamcarolynnq / Instagram

It was one of the biggest highlights of the COVID-19 outbreak showing the strength of the human spirit. It is also a testament to the importance of art in the time of chaos.

READ: Chilean Opera Singer’s Song Touches Hearts Amidst Country State Of Emergency

Chile’s Government Is Setting An Example For The World As They Fight Climate Change By Going Carbon Neutral By 2050

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Chile’s Government Is Setting An Example For The World As They Fight Climate Change By Going Carbon Neutral By 2050

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Philosophers and scientists might disagree in many things, but today they are both certain of something: climate change is real and it is bound to affect how people live and survive in the planet. As temperatures throughout the world go up and down and plants and animal species perish, governments have been slow to respond to what many believe is humanity’s biggest challenge. 

Climate change can be traced down to many factors, but chief among them (or at least very near to the top) is the use of non-renewable energies such as carbon. While the right-leaning governments of some of the most powerful countries in the world such as the United States and Australia remain sceptic and unfazed about the clear and present danger of climate change, other smaller nations such as Finland and now Chile are taking huge steps towards a carbon neutral future. They know that the time to act is now or there might never be another chance. 

So Chile plans to be carbon neutral by 2050: the clock is ticking.

Chile is now spearheading efforts coming from the developing world to relinquish the use of coal to generate power. Even is the South American country is still coal-dependent, it has set an ambitious goal for the next 30 years that would overhaul decades of non-renewable energies.

It might sound simple, but it is far from it. Becoming carbon neutral implies the refurbishing of enormous infrastructures, acquiring new equipment and rolling out a nationwide network of energy distribution and storage. But the Chilean government, even in the current climate of social unrest, is taking a big step in making carbon neutrality a national priority.

In a column written by Carlos Barría, Head of Prospective and Regulatory Impact Analysis, Ministry of Energy, the government states that Chile believes that Climate Change (CC) is real and that both private and public sectors need to work hand in hand to dramatically reduce emissions. Chilean president Sebastián Piñera can be blamed for many things, of course, but we gotta recognize that he has been a fierce advocate for actions that address climate change. 

The Chilean government is aware that climate change affects those that are the most vulnerable.

Chile’s capital Santiago is experiencing unprecedented levels of pollution and droughts in rural areas have affected farmers and communities. Climate change has exacerbated social inequality worldwide. It is clearly a matter of class and power: those with the economic means are often unwilling to change their business models, even if this means that literally the whole world will suffer.

This is why Chile’s 2050 objective is groundbreaking, particularly coming from a Global South country. Barría’s column continues: “We also know that CC is unfair and most vulnerable affects the most vulnerable, increasing inequalities. Chile is a country vulnerable to the CC, we know that. In addition, during the last few months we have been able to clearly show that economic development alone is not sufficient: it is required to be sustainable, that is, to consider the social, environmental and economic in a comprehensive way.”

We really hope that these are not only empty words and that changes in government do not shift public spending away from the many initiatives that will need to be put in place if 2050 brings a huge reason to celebrate. 

But how do they plan to achieve carbon neutrality? 

The government has set out to implement changes in five different areas, according to the column: “sustainable industry and mining, sustainable housing and public-commercial building, coal-mining plant removal and renewables penetration, electromobility mainly from the public system and methane capture in landfills, change of use of nitrogen fertilizers and capture of methane in animal aging.” Each one of these measures involves considerable investment. But can we put a price on the future? Chile is already leading the way in solar energy farms with enormous facilities in its desert. Only time will tell if the objectives are met. 

The announcement comes as Australia, another Southern Hemisphere country, is literally burning and many blame climate change.

As you read this, an area almost as large as the whole if Ireland is burning in Australia. The increased heat caused by climate change and strong winds have triggered bushfires that have already killed people and about half a billion animals. The federal government refuses to address this as a climate change issue and Prime Minister Scott Morrison has been blasted by the media and the public for his lack of leadership in a time of distress. Maybe Australia, a country that relies heavily on mining, can learn from Chile? We would certainly hope so.