Pandemic Journal — April 10, 2020

As in so many places across the world, the coronavirus has exacted a heavy toll on the people of Chile. It is not only the 6,501 cases of contagion and the sixty-five dead—expected to increase exponentially in the coming weeks and months—nor the havoc inflicted on an economy that was already sinking into recession.

When my wife, Angélica, and I left Santiago on the last day of February, after an almost three-month stay in our native land, the one collective concern was how intense the popular political mobilization would be in the upcoming month of March—whether the social revolt that had been gripping the country since October 2019 could be sustained, perhaps with even more fury than before. Citizens had protested in such colossal numbers that the rightist government of Sebastián Piñera had been forced to agree to a plebiscite that, on April 26, would define the contours of a new Constitution. And the demand for radical changes in salaries, pension plans, and the educational and health systems were expected to be unrelenting and extremely difficult for the besieged and inept president to contain.

The virus changed all that.

Read the full piece here.

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