Massive protests rocked Chile today due a decision by the Chilean Government to approve 5 new dams, in the Patagonia region, in order to provide energy to it's people even though 80% of Chileans were against such a move, regardless of having to spend more money on their electricity bill.
Without getting into politics, (Lagos, a leftist, and then Bachellet, a leftist, started a project which has now been finished by a right-wing President, Piñera), HidroAysen was approved today, by a vote of 11 to 1, by the ministers of Chile (incredibly, the only "abstention" was the Minister of Health, Claudio Vallegos. (Note: Even the Minister of Environment, Carol Alvarado, voted "for" the project).
Most major cities: Santiago, Valparaiso, Antofagasta, Talca, Temuco, Valdivia, Puerto Montt, Concepcion, Coyhaique and Osorno; were up in arms protesting against the unpopular decision taken by their "representatives" taken today. The voting Ministers had to leave the building in a special bus, that was protected by police vehicles, due to rocks being thrown by protesters (most injuries were caused at that time).
Government officials tried to downplay the situation by saying that the opposition was making a "circus" out of this and that the opposition was trying to take political advantage of the situation (even though 80% of Chileans oppose dams in the Patagonia)
This leaves to question Chile's "Democracy" status since most Chileans disapprove this decision.
Santiago's (capital of Chile: Population 4.7 out of 16.7 million people) subway system was partially shut down due to protests.
Of special interests:
Enersis, a company in Spain (not Chile) has 60% of the project (symbol: ENI; New York Stock Exchange...tongue in cheek...) while the rest is distributed among others.
Enersis, via Endesa, also owns 39% of the largest energy company in Argentina, 69% of the largest electricity company in Peru while also having interests in Brazilian and Colombian electricity companies.