To combat the exploitation of Chile’s students by a for-profit education system, this artist did the unthinkable.
By Alex Pietrowski
For those just beginning their adult lives, student loan debt has become the most crippling form of debt there is, akin to starting life bound in chains. This type of debt has become a cash cow for private banks and even for the American government, and because of this, there is little realistic chance of changing this paradigm any time soon. If Americans want to go to college, they will have to pay… big time.
So what can people do about this injustice? Many are making the choice to seek higher education in countries where tuition is free to young minds, and organizations like Student Loan Justice are fighting the good fight against the systemized enslavement of our young people to bankers.
A Chilean artist who calls himself ‘Papas Fritas,’ which means ‘French Fries’ in Spanish, has taken an entirely different approach, one that is being applauded around the world by the most revolutionary minded individuals, but that is already causing tremendous problems for officials.
In Chile, higher education used to be seen as a public good, but during the disastrous reign of dictator Augusto Pinochet, education was privatized and commoditized which led to education costs in Chile soon joining the highest in the world. In fact, in a study by the Boston Review, Chile was noted as having the most expensive higher education in the world today.
In a video-taped confession that recently surfaced on online, Papas Fritas admits to personally stealing some $500 million worth of student loan papers from the Universidad del Mar, one of Chile’s premier for-profit universities, and subsequently burning them down to a pile of ash, which he photographed and labeled, ‘an act of love.’
— Fabián Navarrete (@fnavarrte) May 14, 2014
The real identity of Papas Fritas is Francisco Tapia, a revolutionary who has been openly involved in many of the recent nationwide student protests in Chile that have sought to bring justice and equity back to the nation’s young people who are demanding that the government make education affordable again. In a recent protest and takeover at the Universidad del Mar, Tapia declared that he would soon carry outan art project that would free student debt prisoners while striking back at the institutions that have made education an enterprise that enslaves the nation’s youth.
“The theft has created a bevy of headaches for the embattled university, which must now sue each student individually to secure a repayment of the debt, reports the Santiago Times. Students, meanwhile, argue the incurred debt was illegal anyway and are refusing to pay it.
The heist will certainly end up landing the young artist and revolutionary in prison, as police have already moved in to seize the remains of the stolen documents.
Included in his public statement, Papas Fritas said the following:
“It’s over. It’s finished. You don’t have to pay another peso [of your student loan debt]. We have to lose our fear, our fear of being thought of as criminals because we’re poor. I am just like you, living a sh—y life, and I live it day by day. This is my act of love for you.” [Source]
Some are calling him a modern-day Robin Hood, and this may be an appropriate comparison, depending on your opinion on the exploitation of students by corporate schools and banking institutions.
Here is Papas Fritas’ his emotional statement, in Spanish.
Alex Pietrowski is an artist and writer concerned with preserving good health and the basic freedom to enjoy a healthy lifestyle. He is a staff writer for WakingTimes.com and Offgrid Outpost, a provider of storable foodand emergency kits. Alex is an avid student of Yoga and life.
Source: The Mind Unleashed