Just like the cueca (Chile’s national dance that will be on full display during Independence Day celebrations this weekend) Chilean politicians were running round in circles last week over controversial tax reform legislation to overhaul its protested education system. The bill, which will increase education-allocated government revenue by $1.23 billion, originally did not clear the Senate—where it was rejected on August 28 by a vote of 6 yeas, 19 nays and 7 abstentions. The legislation had included a welcomed increase of the top corporate tax rate to 20 percent. But it also included controversial measures, including a 2-to-5-percent tax decrease—compared to 2011—for the top income-earners in Chile as well as incentives for children in private subsidized schools.
While at Cambridge I had the chance to interview the Conservative peer, Lord Howe for Varsity. We discussed to discuss recession, restraint and real people in politics.
For many students who were merely a twinkle in their parents’ eye at the time, the Thatcherite era is little more than an echo of the current ‘age of austerity’ under a Conservative leadership. For Lord Geoffrey Howe, former Deputy Prime Minister, Conservative Chancellor and Foreign Secretary during Margaret Thatcher’s government and an alumnus of Trinity Hall, Cambridge, the comparisons are slightly more considered.
Mel Wymore’s quest to become the City Council’s first openly transgender member was derailed Tuesday when he was beaten by fellow Democrat Helen Rosenthal. “We set out to change the conversation around politics,” Wymore said in an email after the results were announced. “We came in a close second, but we accomplished a lot and inspired many.”
It’s not just Olympic athletes who live in fear of a drug test ruining their career. Chilean politicians are being threatened with the revival of a bill that would remove politicians from public office if caught using illegal drugs. The legislative hype began last month when Chilean Senator Fulvio Rossi admitted in an interview with Chilean newspaper La Tercera that he smokes marijuana “two or three times a month”—a revelation that shocked his colleagues and delighted a nation of thousands of cannabis users.
Listen to an interview I did in January 2012 with PRI’s The World based in Boston about Education Minister Harald Beyer’s decision to remove the words “military dictatorship” from children’s history syllabus in Chile.
Never has Chile’s population been so vocal about what it wants. Every day, in the country’s capital, in Aysén, and now up in Calama, social movements continue demanding their rights. Impeding these rights in every direction, critics say, is Chile’s political system. Shrouded within the very fabric of this system, lies the remains of Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s most infamous legacy: Chile’s 1980 Constitution.