Editor’s Note: Lobos Abroad is a regular column written by Daily Lobo staff members studying in a different country this semester.
While living in Chile for the past three months, I have noticed some things about America.
It’s like spending some time away from a girlfriend to get clarity. Sometimes you need distance to see reality. Over the past three months, I have learned a few things.
First rule about living in South America: You don’t refer to the United States as “America.” It’s all equally America.
At UNM, everyone complains about things not working, about the infrastructure and the bureaucracy sucking the life out of academia — taking unneeded money and wasting too much.
It’s been three months since I started school here, and I still don’t have an ID card. I still haven’t been integrated into the e-mail system. And when I had to register for classes, I had to go in person back and forth between all of the departments to get schedules and to inform them I wanted to take a class.
One week into classes and half mine had their times changed. One of my classes didn’t have a time set until the second week of school.
If you listen to the current political discussions, it is heavily focused on what is important to pay for and what should be cut. Communist Muslim socialist hippies and gun-toting red-tape-slashing, tea-drinking mamma bears seem to be around every corner. Although with corporate media giving people their dose of reality, it seems like Y2K 2.0, 2012 or 9/11 are just around the corner after that.
The fact is that we don’t have trash in the streets and that public education, although not the best in the world, still exists.
Living in a place like the United States puts you in a top 1 percent of the world in the amount of wealth and resources open to you.
The U.S. has lost perspective.
People accuse my generation of being overly entitled. That we want everything handed to us without working for any of it. Are we the first generation? This always seemed crazy to me that we are more entitled than the rest of the U.S. People have felt entitled to the rest of the world for many generations. Our country was founded on the idea of entitlement: manifest destiny.
Our government has been behind the destabilization of so many countries through funded guerrilla movements, terrorist organizations, proxy wars and, in places like Iraq, full military occupation.
Pinochet was a dictator here in Chile and was funded in large part by the CIA. Pinochet was responsible for the disappearance of nearly 2,000 Chileans, torturing nearly 30,000 including women and children and exiling 200,000 citizens that were opposed to the change.
The phrase “banana republic” comes from the CIA overthrowing countries for DOLE Fruit Company and setting up puppet leadership that was company friendly and worker negative.
This is deeply ingrained in our culture, and we have no sense of history. Even from the last 50 years. An upscale clothing store now takes the nickname of our covert revolutionary operations.
You know when you try to eat after you are already full, and nothing seems to feel very satisfying? Things may taste good, but you don’t have much of an impetus to stuff yourself with more food. That is what we are as a country.
Like a fat man with food in his mouth clawing at his neighbor’s plate for more and ever more, we are unsatisfied with anything we put in our mouth. After school today on my way home to finish my column and e-mail it, a bunch of anarchists lit tires on fire in the middle of the road and started throwing Molotov cocktails through crowds at police cars. And the police didn’t rush in.
They stayed back, waited for the tires to burn a little while and then started spraying the whole area with a water cannon, but not even the protesters, just the tires.
At UNM in the early 2000s when there was a peaceful protest, police rushed in and shot tear gas into the crowd and started hitting people with batons. The traffic around the burning tires in Chile didn’t even stop.