Monday, February 18, 2019

The student revolution

Students occupy the legislative assembly in São Paulo, Brazil to protest embezzlement of funding for school meals. © Mídia NINJA 2016
Students occupy the legislative assembly in São Paulo, Brazil to protest embezzlement of funding for school meals. © Mídia NINJA 2016


Latin American students have organized some of the largest mass mobilizations in the region’s recent history, calling for a free, universal system of high-quality education, from primary school to university. The students see this as key to ending the reproduction of inequality that continues to plague their societies.

The Chilean movement has been particularly strong and has influenced others in Brazil and elsewhere. Meanwhile, a new popular university in Honduras aims to equip students with the skills traditional education in the country fails to provide.


About the Author

Emily Gregg has written blogs for LAB on the Colombian Peace Process and the legacy of El Salvador’s 1992 peace accords.

She is now studying for an MSc in the history of international relations at the London School of Economics with a focus on human rights and Latin America.


Valérie Abad, CONFECH, Chile. © Nicolás Acuña 2016

Valérie Abad (Universidad Católica): interviewed via Google Hangouts on 27 January 2018 by Tom Gatehouse. Translated by Matty Rose.

Marcelo Correa (CONES): interviewed in Santiago de Chile on 22 November 2016 by Nina Meghji. Transcribed by Nina Meghji.

Giorgio Jackson, Chile. © Alborada Films 2014

Giorgio Jackson (former student leader, now congressional deputy and leader of Revolución Democrática party): interviewed in Santiago de Chile on 6 December 2011 by Roberto Navarrete ( Translated by Rowan Ritchie.

Camila Lanes, Brazil. © Yuri Salvador/UBES 2015

Camila Lanes (UBES): interviewed in São Paulo on 13 December 2016 by Ali Rocha. Translated by Matty Rose.

Pavel Núñez, Honduras. © Pierre Fromentin 2016

Pavel Núñez (Universidad Clementina Suárez): interviewed in Tegucigalpa on 24 October and 2 November 2016 by Louise Morris. Translated by Louise Morris.96 VOICES OF LATIN AMERICA


NB: All web references were checked and still available in May/June 2018 unless otherwise stated.

Alvarez Parra, N. (2011) ‘Camila Vallejo: “Es más de lo mismo pero con unos pesos más”’, La Tercera, 5 July

Arsht, A. and Sanchez Zinny, G. (2014) ‘Chile’s education system is the best in Latin America – so why is it being overhauled?’, Atlantic Council

Benedikter, R. and Zlosilo, M. (2017) ‘Chile’s 2017 presidential election: evaluating the second Bachelet government’, LSE Latin America and Caribbean Centre

Comisión Nacional sobre Prisión Política y Tortura (2005) Informe de la Comisión Nacional sobre Prisión Política y Tortura, Ministerio del Interior, Chile

Cultura Argentina (2015) El Nunca más y los crímenes de la dictadura, Ministerio de Cultura, Argentina

Duriez, M., López, V. and Moncada, G. (2016) Informe Nacional: Honduras, Educación Superior en Iberoamérica, CINDA

Franklin, J. (2006) ‘Protests paralyse Chile’s education system’, The Guardian, 7 June

Llanos del Corral, M. (no date) ‘Ways of Doing Development Differently: Methodologies for Adaptive & Systemic Development’ Plymouth University

Long, G. (2011) ‘Chile student protests point to deep discontent’, BBC News

Palhares, I. and Toledo, L.F. (2016) ‘Estudo aponta ‘reorganização velada’ no Estado de São Paulo’, O Estado de S. Paulo, 28 June

Pensado, J. (2012) ‘Student activism’, ReVista: Harvard Review of Latin America

Santana, A. (2016) ‘Escola sem Partido: entenda o que é movimento que divide opiniões na Educação’, EBC

Stromquist, N.P. and Sanyal, A. (2013) ‘Student resistance to neoliberalism in Chile’, International Studies in Sociology of Education 23(2): 152–78


Further reading

History of student protest and repression in Latin America



Máfia da Merenda/Primavera Secundarista/Escola sem Partido



The Chicago Boys/voucher school system


The Pingüinazo


The Chilean Winter


The Frente Amplio



Universidad Clementina Suárez

Voices News

Filter news by:

Voices of Latin America — US edition

Voices of Latin America will be published in the US by Monthly Review Press, in partnership with LAB and Practical Action Publishing, in March 2019. Individual copies can be ordered from Monthly Review Press at US$32.00 each. Review copies can be ordered here (on the same page there is a link labelled 'desk copies', for professors who have already ordered a book for a class). Ingram Book Ordering here. Here is what US academics have said about Voices: Anthony Bebbington, Higgins Professor of Environment and Society, Clark University, Worcester, MA; Member of the Board of Directors, Oxfam America; Professorial Fellow, Global Development Institute, University...

Endorsements for Voices of Latin America

Here are some of the endorsements for LAB's new book, Voices of Latin America: Dr Duncan Green, Senior Strategic Adviser, OXFAM: This is a wonderful X-ray of modern Latin America, a vision of the continent's struggles and potential futures through the eyes of its social movement leaders and intellectuals. Read it from end to end, whether as an introduction or an update, or mine it for quotes from inspirational figures across the region on a range of contemporary issues. Latin America (or most of it) has come the end of its progressive 'pink tide' years of the early 2000s. For the...

Voices: a work in progress

Work on LAB's exciting new book Voices of Latin America is progressing rapidly More than 45 of our interviews, from 11 countries, have been translated, and our wonderful team of volunteer editors are at work on the separate chapters The editor and project co-ordinator is Tom Gatehouse Publication date is now set for September 2018 Alongside the book, we will develop the Voices website. This will include more interviews, photos, videos and some of the audio recordings used in the book. But it will be progressively added to to create a constantly growing and up-to-date archive of social...

Voices of Latin America: Thank you to all our generous supporters

We estimate that the total raised from our crowd-funding will be around £12,720 A huge thank you to all our generous supporters. Your pledges on our project Crowdfunding site totalled a magnificent £7,000. We have now received a further £4,000 from our match-funder. We can claim Gift Aid on most of those donations made by UK tax-payers, worth another 25%. This will enable us to pay for some of the daunting amount of editing and translation work and, if necessary, commission further Voices interviews. It's a big boost to the project.  

Voices of Latin America: crowd-funding completed… fund-raising continues

May 18. Our Crowdfunder campaign finished last night. We raised £7,000, but the total will be considerably more because part of this was match-funded. A huge thanks to our 163 generous supporters. It was a great learning experience for the LAB Voices team, and will be excellent advance promotion for the book. More funding needed If you missed the Crowdfunder deadline, it's not too late for you to contribute. Just go to the 'Donate with CAF' button on LAB's Home Page, or click here. Keep watching this space ...for updates on the project as it proceeds. We plan to begin adding audio, video,...