This is the city block in Arica, Chile, on the left, where a huge Walmart (Lider) store was looted and virtually destroyed. It is not surprising that Walmart was targeted. In fact, the entire corporate economic structure of the economy is under attack, seen as fair game. These protests in Chile which continued for three months prior to bringing in the new year 2020, are shocking, a real wake up call, because Chile at least used to be the richest country in South America, with the most vibrant economy. These days, Chileans with money do not even need a visa to visit the USA.
Inequality is the key to understanding the Chilean situation. While the per-capita income is high, among South American countries, so is the inequality. Chile is one of the most unequal societies in the world, and this has given rise to these protests, with the lower echelons of society no longer placidly accepting what they perceive to be discrimination against them by the state, in favor of the handful of elites that own most of the economy, including large corporations, and especially large, symbolic, foreign economic entities like Walmart.
Ghosts of the past are also present in the conflict in Chile. Multi-generational memories are alive and well in Chile these days and there is also a sense of righting a historical wrong: addressing the overthrow of President Allende in 1972, as a result of US intervention and manipulation, and the torture and murder of thousands of Chileans by the security forces that ousted Allende who was struggling to create greater equality of opportunity in Chile.