4. The student revolution

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

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

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


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


History of student protest

The Night of the Pencils. Video: Aries Films, Argentina. Director: Hector Olivera

The Popular University of Honduras

Interview with Franco Lagos. In 2015 a group of Honduran researchers and activists founded the Clementina Suárez Popular University. This was the...

The Penguin Revolution, Chile, 2006

A documentary about María Jesús Sanhueza, one of the leaders of the 2006 secondary school student protests in Chile, known (for their...

Chile: the Great National Agreement for Education

The President of the Republic, Sebastián Piñera, spoke to the country via a nationwide radio and TV link-up to make important announcements...

Inside Chile’s student movement: interview with Giorgio Jackson

The Center for Latin American Studies and the Berkeley Law School present a talk with Giorgio Jackson, one of the leaders...

How free-market education in Chile fails the neediest

Chile's market-based education system premised on choice and competition serves as a cautionary tale for privatization. Rather than investing in...

Further reading


Campaña Latino-Americana por el derecho a la Educación

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

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