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Chile Climate News 2019

Chile Popular Uprising

In late 2019 Global Justice Ecology Project and Biofuelwatch sent a team to Chile to Report on Ecological and Human Rights Impacts of Neoliberal, Privatization & Offset Schemes Being Promoted at UN Climate Summit – Instead, an massive popular uprising took place.  The uprising eventually forced the government to agree to a Constitutional Assembly, comprised of members of the public representing different constituencies, which is re-writing Chile’s Constitution – a holdover from the Pinochet Dictatorship. GJEP and Biofuelwatch covered and reported on the uprising for four weeks.

Street art refers to the 200 eye injuries suffered by protesters in Chile caused by police aiming their rubber bullets at people’s faces. Photo: Gary Hughes/ Biofuelwatch

Click here to see our photography, videos and writing from our work in Chile during the uprising and continuing to the present.


Chile was scheduled to host the annual UN Climate Summit (COP25) from 2-14 December.  But a massive popular uprising rocked the country.  People are demanding an end to the Pinochet Dictatorship-era neoliberal economic policies and resource privatization that has driven massive economic, racial and social injustice.

President Piñera’s Chilean government responded to the uprising with violent crackdowns against the people resulting in thousands jailed and injured, and at least 20 dead.

Due to the uprising, Chile cancelled its plans to host COP25–the 2019 UN Climate Summit.  Spain, Chile’s former Colonial ruler, saved the day for Chile’s President Piñera by agreeing to host COP25 in Madrid.  This allowed Chile to retain the Presidency of the climate summit while hiding the human rights disaster there.


Why we planned to go to COP25 in Chile

Every year at the UN we see nothing but empty promises and non-binding commitments, while ecosystems and peoples around the world are devastated.  Floods, fires, sinking islands, monstrous hurricanes are becoming the norm, while the UN, world governments and corporations continue business as usual.

And in 2019 the COP added insult to injury by putting forward so-called “nature-based solutions” . 

We went to Chile to expose and denounce them.

Also called “business for nature,” these climate schemes are designed to commodify and privatize everything from forests to oceans to native grasslands. They plan to use them as carbon or biodiversity “offsets” to enable corporations and governments to continue polluting and destroying the Earth, while pretending they are part of the solution.  These schemes also include the so-called “bioeconomy” including the use of deadly monoculture tree plantations to feed production of energy, chemicals, plastics and more.

Chile is a perfect example of the impacts of the privatization of nature and the rampant expansion of industrial tree plantations.  We will report from Mapuche territory about the direct impacts of these kinds of false and dangerous climate “solutions”.

Mapuche people have been on the front lines of the fight against these schemes since the Pinochet Dictatorship took away their lands in the 1970s and handed them to timber corporations for vast tree plantations.  As a result, these communities now face crushing poverty, historic wildfires, a lack of fresh water and contamination from the toxic chemicals used on the plantations.

Click here to see our photography, videos and writing from our work in Chile during the uprising and continuing to the present.