This series, Stories of Hope and Resistance from Chile, presents accounts of concrete ways EPES is working to address the covid-19 crisis as it affects the communities, families and people EPES loves and works with in Chile. Click on the titles below to read the stories! For US friends who would like to support this work, you can make a tax deductible donation online by going to AHA’s Donation page – thank you!
Dear friends of EPES and AHA ,
Needless to say that Covid 19 has affected everyone. EPES, as we and its community have come to expect, once again has stepped up during this extraordinary times to go above and beyond in supporting those who need it most. Through your generosity, EPES continues to meet these challenges head on. This May’s EPES Update focuses on what EPES has been able to quickly do to address the new needs of the communities they work with.
Fortunately – yes fortunately – your contribution provides more benefit than ever. Due to the strong dollar and the very weak Chilean peso, we are quickly converting US dollar contributions into Chilean pesos, reaping a benefit of approximately 38%….in other words, for every $1 you donate, it will be equivalent to $1.38.
We are so thankful for your continued support to EPES. If you are able to, we hope you will consider making a contribution now so that we can take advantage the the favorable exchange rate and help EPES to stretch their budget.
The Action for Health in the Americas Board
The resistance movement in Chile that you read about in the last EPES Update continues, and as you know it has been met with violent and criminal treatment by the Chilean police and military.
Salud a la Calle is a group of medical providers (doctors, nurses, EMT workers, etc.) organized to assist demonstrators that have been wounded by the police in Chile’s recent popular demonstrations. They have just opened a small permanent clinic (policlinico de atencion) for follow-up of the wounded.
If you are in the New York City area, please come out to their fundraiser on January 10th to support their great work. Details in poster below!
Dear friends of EPES,
You are probably aware that, for the past several weeks, Chile has been experiencing brutal repression such as has not been seen since the years of Pinochet’s dictatorship.
It began with student protests of a 30-peso (4 cent) transit fare increase, but, as a widespread graffiti declares, it’s not the 30 pesos, it’s the 30 years! The protests and the disproportionately violent response of Chile’s militarized police, ignited unrest that had been simmering from years of Pinochet-imposed policies that persisted into the era of supposed democracy:
- privatized pension funds that make investors immensely rich while Chileans can’t afford to live on their monthly retirement checks;
- privatized health care and defunding of the public health sector, leading to unnecessary deaths and suffering;
- privatized education that led to the highest tuition fees in the world (and, for many, worthless degree-mill credentials);
- privatized water supply (considered a public good everywhere else in the world);
- a tax system that transfers money from the poor to the rich;
- systematic encroachment and repression of Mapuche indigenous communities that stand up for their rights and autonomy.
All these elements are integral to the neoliberal economic model that gives Chile the highest level of income inequality among OECD countries and one of the highest in the world. According to the UN, the richest 1% of Chileans hold 33% of the nation’s wealth.
Rather than respond substantively to the just demands of burgeoning social movements, the Piñera government doubled down with dictatorship-era repression, with a brutality that has stunned observers and human rights organizations around the world. After a fact-finding visit to Chile, this week Amnesty International concluded that police deliberately commit human rights violations and shoot to injure demonstrators to discourage the social movement. The president, who a month ago, said the government was at war—against its own people— refuses to take responsibility. But, to paraphrase Einstein, peace is not the absence of war; it’s the presence of justice.
I’m very much afraid that things are going to get worse before they get better, because the wealthy won’t easily give up their privilege, and the Chilean people, now awakened to the full scope of their oppression, will not go back to submission and misery. As another popular graffiti puts it, We’ve lost everything, even our fear.
EPES and AHA are deeply grateful for your support over the years, so indispensable to sustainability for almost four decades. We count on your continued generosity in your year-end giving. Now, more than ever, EPES desperately needs your help to keep standing with and providing essential tools to the Chilean people, protesting structural inequalities, calling out human rights violations, and demanding the right to health and a dignified life for all.
In solidarity and peace,
Christina Mills MD FRCPC
President, Action for Health in the Americas
P.S. Thank you in advance for making a donation to EPES TODAY! To make a tax-deductible contribution to EPES, donate online at www.actionforhealth.org or mail a check made out to “Action for Health in the Americas” to:
Action for Health in the Americas c/o Prince of Peace Lutheran Church
4 Northcrest Drive
Clifton Park, NY 12065-2744 USA
We’re so excited to share this beautiful summary and photos demonstrating the incredible impact of the EPES International Training School on Popular Education in Health. Held January 6th-16th in Chile, this year marked the 10th for the “Escuela” and resulted in its 187th graduate. AHA is so proud to be a part of EPES and be able to help them implement programs like this! We hope you feel the same!