I’m no expert, so I may be misreading things, but this image from Santiago seems to sum up the competition between expanding social welfare and international investment, not just in Chile, but in much of the developing world:
That’s Salvador Allende, the elected Marxist overthrown in 1973 after years of actions against his government by the CIA and several U.S. multinationals (ITT, Anaconda Copper, etc.).
Allende’s memorial is right outside the presidential palace — and right in front of Citibank.
Perhaps not quite what he had in mind.
Also on the side of the road north to Santiago: possibly the strangest billboard ad I have ever seen.
I should begin by noting that IANSA is a Spanish acronym for "National Sugar Industry," although it was privatized toward the end of the Pinochet years.
There is nothing sweeter.
That’s probably true — because Mom here is serving her daughter an entire bowl of pure white sugar.
While sitting on the kitchen floor, no less. No chairs in sight. Hey, I know what’s sweeter — buying some damn furniture, so your poor kid doesn’t develop diabetes and lose all feeling in her butt in a single meal.
Can somebody please call Child Protective Services? No one even looks surprised. This is just how they roll. I mean, look closely — does that kid even have any teeth? Mom does — grinning like it’s a pepper filet broiled with minced scallions and stone crab claws in lemon butter, and not weapons-grade glucose in a kitty dish.
Um, Mom? Can you get this kid, I dunno, a piece of raw beef, just for balance?
The artist has done interesting things with the details, too. That box has shadows and floor reflections as if it’s actually in the photograph. Which means Mom keeps a box of sugar in the house almost as large as her own child.
The weirdest thought, to me: that this image, which actually gets more psychotic the longer you look at it, actually sells sugar. Successfully. Not, say, an urgent national commitment to children’s nutrition, mental health advocacy, dental hygiene, and, I dunno, gift certificates to IKEA.
Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m making breakfast, and I need to get another oil drum of syrup to go with my pallet of Bisquick. And where did I leave my casket of jam…?