Chile’s Establishment Have Just Discovered a Concern for Santiago’s Heritage After Years of Negligence

Published in Failed Architecture, 2020

On Sunday, 18th October 2020, an estimated twenty-five thousand Chileans took to the streets of Santiago to commemorate the anniversary of last year’s social uprising, commonly referred to as el estallido (the ‘outburst’ or ‘explosion’). In a week’s time, the country would vote on a referendum to rewrite the country’s constitution, which was a holdover from the military dictatorship of General Augusto Pinochet. The atmosphere at the demonstration was hopeful but decidedly tense, and it remained peaceful until the afternoon when protesters started to clash with the carabineros (the Chilean police). By evening, news reports were saturated with footage of barricades, looted shops and, most strikingly, two churches on fire — San Francisco de Borja and la Parroquia de la Asunción — in front of which masked protesters danced in celebration.