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08.10.2021 09:09:45 4104x read.
Vulnerability currently in Chile

Vulnerability currently in Chile

Bro. Patricio Guentelican Perez

I come from the Island of Chiloé with beautiful other islands and with its own culture regarding food, dance, traditions, customs, family values ​​and the way of dressing. During my childhood and adolescence, the people of the island considered poverty as illness, therefore, as long as there is health, there is no poverty, it was the motto of the time and that remains to this day especially among rural people.

Chile, as a seismic country, has also faced major earthquakes like the one in 2010 and later ones, and we thought that great poverty would affect the country. Many families lost their homes; however, the reconstruction was rapid with much prosperity for the future.

In recent years the word "poor" has been "forbidden"; people do not like to be called poor; today we speak of “people lacking something” or “vulnerable people”. Even before the pandemic, there was talk from school about spiritual poverty and it was the need to urgently strengthen the guidance and counseling services in families, seeing the vulnerability of new families in the way of accompanying and educating their children. Another important vulnerability is mental health problems that are expressed in abuse, domestic violence, adolescent depression, attention deficit and anxiety in children.

(foto just as an illustration)

Between October 2019 and March 2020, it was the Social Outbreak, which is the name given to a series of massive demonstrations and serious disturbances that originated in Santiago and spread to all regions of Chile, with the greatest impact in the main cities; a reaction of great impact in the face of the abuses, the disinterest of the elite and the political class, and a technocratic government that reproduced exclusion. These disturbances led to the temporary closure of companies, decreased tourism, and many activities or jobs began to be carried out only for a few hours due to the demonstrations. This led to unemployment and great economic losses.

Then comes the pandemic that exacerbated the previous situation and continues to affect everyone considerably. Along with this the arrival of a wave of migrants especially from Haiti, Colombia and Venezuela, many illegally sacrificing their own lives. Many legal migrants were beginning to have an organized life, but with the pandemic they lost their jobs and cannot afford their basic expenses. If life is critical for Chileans, it is more complex for the migrants.

There is no doubt that vulnerability increased rapidly within one year. There are many professionals without jobs; companies on the brink of bankruptcy and people with huge debts. Common solidarity pots are available where people go for lunch. The streets of the city of Talca when it is not in quarantine are filled with people selling all kinds of things in order to earn money. Others are selling personal property like clothes, household appliances, cars, and in the worst cases their homes. There is social assistance, but it is not enough for everyone.

The Catholic Church and volunteers help with the common pots through donations of money and / or food. Our Congregation also collaborates from the FIC schools - collecting food, medicine or other necessities with the help of our lay collaborators to help our students and their families. The great challenge is to have the resources to help, which is why the donation of the General Council is appreciated. It enabled us to collaborate with different people and institutions to help the community. We are afraid that the pandemic will double poverty in Latin America and the world. The vulnerable people are becoming more vulnerable and those who had overcome their deficiencies today have lost it again. Today more than ever we must focus our gaze on the most vulnerable, they need people in order to get their most basic needs that will give them hope and optimism for the  future.

[Bro. Patricio is currently the vice provincial superior of Chile and a teacher in the FIC primary school in Talca]

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