Protests grow in Chile as Vallas's 'Chicago Boys' bring USA corporate reforms to S. America four decades after the first round of free market fascism under Vallas predecessor Augusto Pinochet
Dramatic student protests increased in the streets of Chilean cities as the Race To The Top style reforms increasingly tighten corporate control over Chile's public schools less than a generation after the South American nation escaped the grip of the first round of reforms brought by the "Chicago Boys" during the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. On July 14, an estimated 20,000 people, mostly students, too to the streets of Santiago to protest the neoliberal attacks on public education and higher education, only to be met with water cannons and tear gas, as well as police beatings which were caught on dramatic videos.
The URL for some of the best footage from Chile is: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FZEY9WvB0FI&feature=youtu.be
The protests come only a few months after the latest round of corporate reforms to Chilean education were brought there by former Chicago schools "Chief Executive Officer" Paul G. Vallas. Vallas's consulting firm has been hired by Chile, under a $500,000 grant from the U.S. controlled Inter American Bank, to destroy the "worst" public schools in Chile, following the models developed by Vallas and Arne Duncan in Chicago and elsewhere in the USA.
According to a report from Reuters, more than 20,000 people demonstrated against the USA style reforms in Santiago, the capital, while being attacked by speeding military vehicles, some of which were equipped with water cannons and tear gas sprayers. Squads of heavily armored Chilean soldiers also attacked individual protesters who became isolated from the groups, but generally shied away from the main large group protests.
Vallas finally left New Orleans in April 2011, with the public schools there, now consisting mostly of charter schools, a supposed example of "free market" approaches to education reform. Vallas was replaced by a New York City school officials who had worked under Joel Klein.
One of the earmarks of the Vallas myth is the uncritical coverage of his claims by the main corporate media. Typical were the stories out of New Orleans when Vallas was preparing to leave and leaving this year. The New Orleans Times Picayune newspaper, for example, continued its tradition of ignoring Vallas's critics and quoting extensively from his supporters, mostly corporate and university types.
Vallas's consulting outfit was begun several years ago with cronies from Chicago, and is now expanding internationally. In addition to pushing the "free market" destruction of public schools in Chile, Vallas is reportedly trying to replicate his attacks on the public schools of New Orleans in Haiti following the 2010 earthquake.