Chile’s currency hits record low: Finance Minister


Wave of anti-government protests in Chile took its toll on country’s currency that dropped to a record low against the U.S. dollar. 

Finance Minister Ignacio Briones told reporters Tuesday in Santiago that the peso lost 4% and it is a sign of instability the country is experiencing but he is monitoring it closely.

Stressing peaceful marches have made their point, Briones said protests have caused “grave consequences” that are now being seen in the economy.

On Sunday, President Sebastian Pinera accepted demands to change the Constitution to replace the one dating to the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship, a demand of protesters who have taken to the streets in recent weeks.

Protesters last month jumped over turnstiles without paying for tickets at metro stations in Santiago to protest a 4% transport fare hike last month.

Since then, at least 23 people have been killed in anti-government protests.

Pinera also announced concessions, including rolling back the fare rise, a rise to the minimum wage and placed a hold on electricity prices until next year in a bid to contain the strife.

A small group of demonstrators Monday burned a military barracks that was used for torture during the Pinochet dictatorship, according to a video circulated on Twitter.

Pinochet rule in Chile lasted 17 years from 1973 to 1990, left an estimated 3,000 dead or missing, tortured tens of thousands of prisoners and drove 200,000 Chileans into exile.

Then-U.S. President Richard Nixon played a key role in the overthrow of democratically elected Chilean President Salvador Allende and replacing him with Pinochet in a military coup in September 1973.

Pinochet, backed by the CIA and several U.S. administrations, remained in power until March 11, 1990.
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