Since starting work at the Esperanza copper mine in northern Chile two years ago, Erick Moreno has tripled his salary and is preparing to buy his first home. The pay, he says, is so good that he’d never take a job elsewhere.
Katherine Barrios’ five years at a Chilean university left her with debts of about $26,000, more than twice her annual salary as a teacher. It also ensured her support for protests that have shuttered many schools for three months and threaten to undermine 30 years of fiscal austerity.
Former President Michelle Bachelet has based her campaign to recapture Chile’s top office on a program of free education for all and higher corporate taxes. Her main opponent calls that model a throwback to the era of the Berlin Wall.