The Chilean Physical Society statement about the social crisis affecting Chile

The Board of the Chilean Physical Society wishes to express its deep concern about the present situation in Chile that led the government to establish the State of Emergency in several regions of the country. We express our condemnation to the unleashed violence on the streets; however, these excesses should not blind the authorities and should acknowledge that a significant majority of people peacefully exercise their legitimate right to protest.   The reigning unrest deserves a profound and thoughtful understanding of the underlying causes, which reflects the discontent of a large part of the society due to the high cost of living and insufficient social protection. A comprehensive understanding is the way to design the appropriate actions and the corresponding public policies to tackle the problem beyond disorders and violence. For this reason, our duty as citizens, beyond our specific professional activity, must be to request the authorities to act rationally. In addition, exception measures such as the State of Emergency must be carefully evaluated and considered as the last resort, as they may have unsuspected consequences, particularly when they can serve as justification for new expressions of violence.

With a long-term vision the political, executive and legislative authorities, as well as the economic and social powers that have the most influence in the society, should prioritize a policy agenda based on the fully understanding of the causes of the social phenomena. It is evident that our country needs to see its development not only as an economical objective. It is imperative to incorporate indicators of well-being and equity in the distribution of income, together with guaranteeing the full dignity of a person and equality before the law, in a fair and proportional exercise of justice.

We understand that societies will develop virtuously into the future when they acknowledge the importance of the creation of knowledge, which will contribute not only to economic growth, but also to the development of social and civic values that will ensure that the outcomes of progress will benefit the entire community, instead of generating even greater inequality gaps. Particularly, an economy based on the extraction, culture and sale of raw materials, cannot offer in today’s globalized world, well-paid jobs, and growth, stability and the exercise of genuine sovereignty. It is an unavoidable challenge to change the focus of our development, whose delay, in addition to stopping progress, implies leaving society’s tensions grow out on control. The Chilean scientific community is prepared to contribute to a fair and comprehensive progress. This requires deep and long-term political decisions that exceed the interests that, anchored in the short term, do not constitute the vision that Chile needs to project itself in the future.

Luis Huerta, President
Leopoldo Soto, General Secretary
Pedro Vega, Treasurer
Rafael Correa, Director
Rodrigo Aros, Director

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