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"It's Not 30 Pesos, It's 30 Years"

The line, “It’s not 30 pesos, it’s 30 years,” which traces three decades of social ills back to the legacy of the brutal regime of General Augusto Pinochet (1973-1990), provided one of the most important catchphrases for the 2019-20 social revolution. In the wake of a night of violence on October 18, 2019, center-right President Sebastián Piñera declared a state of emergency, one which was accompanied by a heavy military presence and nightly curfews. For many, the return of the military to the streets was reminiscent of the days of the civic-military dictatorship, opening what historian Steve Stern has called a “Memory Box.” The mobilization of memory was reflected in the metaphors equating the two regimes, such as “Piñera=Pinochet” and “2019=1973.” The presence of wall graphics such as “Death to Neoliberalism!” and “Ciao Chicago Boys!” reflected protests against neoliberal principles that date from the Pinochet era and which are enshrined in the 1980 Constitution.

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