Society for Latin American Studies (SLAS) Annual Conference, University of Manchester, UK
by Juan Carlos Ruiz, April 2013
“I have made so many friends in the street. I remember I had had two friends from my childhood; we were hanging around together all the time. One of them became drug-trafficker, driving brand new cars all the time. The other was in jail until recently. Then I make myself the question, in which moment of our lives were we split from each other?”
This paper challenges the common assumption of a homogeneous outcome in urban communities under long-term exclusion and violence. In order to do so I analyse several coping-strategies that people use to face this difficult environment. I argue that violence – in its different levels and expressions – has led to several ways to cope with it within community – and not only seeking income in illegal or deviant activities. I also consider how this redrawn the way it has been usually understood the spatial politics and social settings of Latin American excluded settlements. The case I will describe of today´s Latin American inner slum shows a fragmented community which meet halfway between despair and hope.
Authors such as Wilson (1991) or Wacquant (2008) claim that there is a specific set of behaviours, expectations, and outcomes among people living in seemingly identical structural conditions. One argument is that an isolated social context such ghettos in US inner-cities not only gives rise to weak labour-force attachment, but increases the probability that individuals will be constrained to seek income derived from illegal or deviant activities (Wilson, 1991). Furthermore, Wacquant argues that American ghettos are compulsory spaces where dwellers become a homogeneous group unable to leave the area; neighbourhoods, in which economic exclusion, territorial stigmas, and the drug economy are combined, generating a vicious cycle of violence; and spaces in which the state is present only through repressive policies, abandoning any protective or service-providing role (Wacquant, 2008). At the same time, stereotypes and stigma applied to urban poor provide a key to a discourse which recurrently targets the most vulnerable populations in the city. Labels applying both to people and places clarify the grid through which society is read (Body-Gendrot, 2001).
In parallel, Latin American cities experienced a sustained rise in violence and insecurity since the 1980s and this increasing insecurity of urban life has generated a new urban exclusion (Rodgers, Beall et al. 2011). However, for poor communities living in the inner-city slums and close to middle class residents might imply beneficial gains because of their “market opportunities” lying close to jobs and attained larger, better serviced housing from the state (Eckstein, 1990; Sabatini, Wormald, Sierralta, & Peters, 2009).
Constructions of violence are heavily contingent on local time and place specific perceptions, values and contexts (Bottoms, 2007) and this is a key point for grasping bottom up accounts and give voice to excluded dwellers. I use an ethnographic approach to research in deep the conditions of violence of a specific neighbourhood and a specific community of Santiago de Chile, the José María Caro settlement, or ‘La Caro’, as their inhabitants call it. It is located in the poor south side of Santiago. I have chosen this neighbourhood for its importance in the urban growth process of Santiago in the last 50 years. It was built in 1959 (See figure 1) as the first major social housing project of the Chilean state until that date (Flock, 2005). During the first years the shantytown carved out its reputation of violent place due several manifestations of social violence such as knife and street fights. There was also institutional violence exerted by the state and the mass media marking the social and cultural place of the neighbourhood within the city (Ruiz 2012).
Henceforth, ‘La Caro’ as local residents use to call it, became an icon of the grassroots organizations in the late 1960s and early 1970s not only as movement aimed at obtaining affordable and decent housing but also as a political force inserted into the wider struggle over the transformation of the country (Castells, 1973). After Pinochet’s coup d’état in 1973, political participation was prohibited and ‘La Caro’ transformed then in a space of resistance against the dictatorship. Due to political violence during this stage, it received the stigma of ‘dangerous place’ and ‘critical neighbourhood’ which stay with the neighbourhood until nowadays (Flock, 2005). However, after the end of the dictatorship and the comeback to democracy in 1990, this stigma is still in place due to the drug-related violence and the fear of crime. In parallel, the area is now within inner Santiago, close to urban highways and modern shopping malls (See Figure 2). Actually, it was part of a governmental program towards ‘critical delinquencies areas’ between 2005 – 2008 (Ruiz, 2010). This area and this community has been a privileged actor – sometimes in the shadows, sometimes in the front scenario – of the urban history of the city. From being at the edge of the city in 1960’s to part of the core city nowadays (Flock, 2005).
Figure 1. Shantytowns in Santiago, 1959.
Source: (Godoy & Guzmán, 1964)
Figure 2 Location of Jose Maria Caro settlement. 2012
Source: Ruiz, 2012
I lived in ‘La Caro’ for five months between 2011 and 2012. I rented a room and engaged in old-fashioned participant observation research (Goldstein, 2003), which has involved countless informal conversations with dwellers in their homes and in the streets. I let the community speak through their own voices. Among all the huge amount of my ethnographic data, in this paper I specially engage with the story of four informants from the neighbourhood. They have different backgrounds, political preferences and ages. I choose them because they illustrate the heterogeneity within the settlement and provide different understandings of their plight.
Violence in time of transition
After 17 years of dictatorship, 1988 referendum and 1989 elections, democratic rule started again in Chile at 1990. For those who were involved in the protests – not only in ‘La Caro’ but throughout the country – was a moment of hope. It seemed that the increasing number of small-scale organizations and the empowerment processes involved would put the so-called pobladores movement in the centre of the new social and political process. In addition, the effective and stimulating response to the dictatorship long before institutionalized politics managed to develop a creative and effective strategy would put them in the vanguard of a ‘substantive democracy” (Salman, 1994).
However, just after the first democratic elections many of the poblacion inhabitants felt let down by top-down decisions and the ‘democratic trades’. After 1990, María tried to participate in the political system and early she found deception and exclusion even among their party fellows. She is in her 60’s, who nowadays keenly participate in the Catholic Church as an activist in folklore music and patchwork workshops, but who back in years was an eager militant in the leftist political party MIR, an active political participant of the grass-root organizations within the community, and also victim of the political violence during the 1970’s. Still, almost all interviewed of all ages express great disappointment about the current political parties. María talks about the deception.
“We thought; ‘the joy is coming’ , after so many suffering during the dictatorship the democracy arrived and we are going to be happy, we are going to have opportunities, the kids are going to study’… but we realised instead that it was a lie because it was the same still because things carried on the same. The Aylwin administration was, I don’t know, managed by militaries afterwards, it wasn’t changed. It changed because there were no deaths, no more kidnappings, less fear; but opportunities, where were they?”
The resurgence of political party activity, however, has corresponded with the demobilization of mass actors and now focuses on establishing the electoral rules of the game and the electoral process itself. At a minimum, achieving a transition to democracy meant that activities not directly connected with the electoral process, including those of popular organizations as María describes it, would be of secondary importance (Oxhorn, 1994). This process has a clear match within ‘La Caro’ experience. Still, almost all interviewed of all ages express great disappointment about the current political parties. María tells again:
“When the democracy came back we got registered in the socialist party. I used to go to women meetings and I was becoming conscious that they were only posh little girls. They talked of this and that over there and they didn´t talk about what was really happening to us. So, in several occasions I almost started throwing my fists into them and I used to tell them ‘You don’t get your hands dirty, you don’t go to lower class neighbourhoods, and you don’t really know lower class people’. I had tried to participate but afterwards I realised that it was all about sharing out power: ‘I want to be town councillor, the party needs to nominate town councillors’ and things like that… but the town councillor position is ours, we need to elect the person because he knows our problems. So, as the socialist party was sending upper class people we were getting disappointed. Nowadays, we don´t participate much in party meetings because they don’t listen to us. ”
Traditional forms of political participation predominated over the alternative that popular organizations embodied. Even the former radical left Socialist militants– as María brilliantly shows previously – were more concerned about winning the elections than actually representing the pobladores (Ruiz 2012). In addition, popular mobilization becomes potentially threatening because it may engender a backlash by hardliners within the authoritarian regime (Oxhorn, 1994). The ghost of an eventual future violence from above, which could threaten the democratic transition, compelled the political elite to exclude the pobladores of substantive democracy’.
At the same time everyday violence has tended to continue in all countries emerging from political or armed conflict and undergoing democratisation efforts. In Latin America and Africa, the shift from dictatorships to democracy has not stopped violence but transformed it from political into social and criminal violence (Koonings & Kruijt, 2007; Kynoch, 2005). In fact, the comeback to democracy in many developing countries during 1980’s and 1990’s were followed by an increase of violence (Moser & McIlwaine, 2006).
If the re-democratisation process ended up the most of the political persecution and repression during the dictatorship, the violence from the drug trafficking started. Dwellers date at the beginning of the 1990’s as the moment in which drug gangs started taking control over community spaces. Both drug consumption and trafficking were always a normal issue since 1960’s within ‘La Caro’ but what has changed was the scale and the violence involved in the business (Ruiz 2012). With the massive introduction of drugs the attendant financial opportunities and possibilities for ‘a smoke’ compete effectively for the minds of young people. It was a gradual but steady process in which the ever present drug trafficking became more and more important within ‘La Caro’. Carmen, a neighbour stated;
“First it started with people sucking the industrial glue up, because the ‘pasta base’ was unknown at that time [beginning of 1990’s]. After that it appeared the marihuana and some years later the famous ‘pasta base’. There was a stage in which the marihuana consumers got bored of it and caught the ‘pasta base’ vicious instead.”
Nowadays, in order to do their business the drug gangs controlled the turf where they can established their base of operations, drugs and weapons storage, distribution throughout the city and finally into the micro-traffic within the neighbourhood. They use a myriad of strategies to exert their control, from giving benefits and privileges to the inhabitants, for instance paying for wedding parties or funerals, to intimidating of physical harm to people (Ruiz 2012). Gangs were not unknown in the past the social landscape of the neighbourhood but despite some people sated that the drug dealers came from outside, some other accounts go in the opposite directions. Arturo, a 58 semi-specialised worker says:
“In ‘La Caro’ these groups have always been. Before they were thieves… they didn´t use to stole from us… they used to go out to work… today, because of the drug, they assault and rob us and they shoot themselves… but many are the same old thugs from before.”
At the same time, the drug – violence relationship allows more random act when disputes between gangs got out of control or drug-consumers were involved in shootings or aggressive panhandling to obtain drugs, which has been called ‘disorganised crime’ (Beato Filho, Alves, & Tavares, 2005). This produced a deep sense of fear and lack of community control within ‘La Caro’. As it happened in similar contexts (Anderson, 1990), the dwellers had become quite alert and had begun to shy away from unknown people, especially young, feeling they are the main source of drug-related violence. This irrational violence is quite connected with the dictatorship time, in the sense that there was continuity with the random violence exerted by Police and Armed forces. Anybody can be shot or assaulted without notice and without taking into consideration the former social hierarchies within the community.
The collective violence in 1980s shifted to a sort of fragmented, more expressive and less instrumental violence that reshape the street culture and values. The political and institutional violence exerted by the dictatorship upon ‘La Caro’ and the violence fighting back disassembled the social organisations and any idea of ‘us’ as a whole. The old hierarchies were eroded and a ‘jungle law’ was imposed instead. What followed after was a deepened in the political, social and cultural exclusion of ‘La Caro’.
Coping with violence and stigma: resistance, effort, and alienation.
Due to the described situation public behaviour in ‘La Caro’ has become quite fluid and depends largely on how people define public situations (Anderson, 1999). Rather to settle the diffuse mechanisms to draw these distinctions, I am interested in the reactions of this sort of labelling into people. All over the history of ‘La Caro’ its inhabitants have been stigmatised as delinquents and ‘the worst’. Most of my interviewees told me stories about stigmatisation within schools, where teachers taught to most of them that coming from ‘La Caro’ means to everybody else a thief and a lazy person. This also happened at work and even at casual encounters in the Santiago public space as Carolina tells. Carolina is a woman in her 40’s who currently works as administrative staff in the local Health Centre, but in the past worked as a maid for upper class families in the wealthy district of Santiago. She describes herself as completely apolitical, which and mostly interested in get better off conditions to her family, which in the Chilean codes usually means right-wing supporter.
“When I was at school, I used to go out with my friends, we used to go to downtown to walk around and it was the best, you used to know boys who where in the same… once we got to know a group of boys and the typical question was asked, ‘Where are you from?’… from Gran Avenida we said, and suddenly one of the boys asked ‘From which sector?’ and I answered without thinking, ‘the 17’. Then he told us; ‘Ahh, you live in ‘La Caro’.”
They were walking around and they met a bunch of guys, quite normal an incident, but they were faced with the question that they don’t want to hear. They covered their origin giving a more respectable area as an address – just 20 blocks away from the neighbourhood. This is a very well used mechanism to hide the tracks in the city. Nevertheless, they were identified, ‘smelled’. Today, this stigma of living in the neighbourhood is strongly related to the violence of the delinquency and drugs. In order to cope with both – violence and stigma – people develop several strategies. I understand coping strategies not as a psycho – social resource to face stress (Carver, Scheier, & Weintraub, 1989; Endler & Parker, 1994) or poor families risk-managing (Dercon, 2002) but as a set of attitudes, norms and behaviours to face everyday violence (Anderson, 1999). Some of them try to resist the exclusion and redefine the experience of violence, some look for more individualistic approaches to better off, and some use violence to defend themselves within this challenging context. I will analyse these three strategies.
The first strategy is about how to resist and challenge the stereotypes of violence and stigma. One of the key concepts to understand how people from ‘La Caro’ perform this is being ‘thug’. In the past, ‘thug’ was related to tough people, someone who lived from thieving but also a rough guy, always ready for a fight and never willing to step back.
Pancho, current deacon in one of the Catholic Chapels within the neighbourhood, and historical organiser of grass-root organisations from the Catholic Church, defines it sharply:
“A ‘thug’ steals and control a certain turf, he is respected by those who are next door. What he has is an authority over the rest of the community… the fact of being ‘thug’, good for swearing, facing at everybody, standing to fight all the time, gives him a certain status in his turf…he also uses the knife and beats other people up. He usually is looking for others ‘thug’ to fight with”
There was a certain gentleman idea of ‘good thieves’ who respect their own and only ‘works’ outside the neighbourhood. Pablo, an old dweller remembers them in an almost nostalgic and old fashioned way.
“Back in those days there were ‘thugs’. Most of them are already gone now, but they were very gentlemen, I mean, from time to time they begged for drinks and things like that and you gave them something but afterwards, if they saw you in a plight, for instance if someone was going to mug you, they protected you.”
In Chilean urban culture, this concept today means not only thieves or violent people but inhabitants from poblaciones. By extension, it is related to defiant and insolent people who are brave and don’t step back from awkward or dangerous situations. There is a certain dignity in poverty that some of them don’t want to break. They consider themselves as poor and they don’t want to change this, especially moving out from ‘La Caro’.
Manuel is the very example of this strong pride. He is a 31 years old school teacher,, hip-hop singer, and graffiti artist. Despite the fact that he has a formal position as a school teacher in a northern borough, he is always hanging around in his hoodie and cap, being one among many in the gang. He shows how pride rise against quite a palpable sense of stigma. He learnt everything within the neighbourhood and he wants to pay back. This is why he prefers to stay instead of moving out. He also leads a political and cultural group of young people working together to develop historical insights of ‘La Caro’. They call themselves ‘Los hijos de la Caro’ (La Caro’s sons), hold a radio program in the community radio station, organise cultural activities within the neighbourhood and commemorate ‘La Caro killing’ every November since 2007. They are explicitly autonomous from the council or governmental programmes to carry out their activities because they do not want to be assimilated by the state. He says:
“I think our work aims to show the fact that we were born here in the población, we are from here, we are part of this community, we live here and the población is our father, I don’t know, the person who gave us everything, get it? It has given who we actually are, our way to communicate, our way to dress, our way to behave outside, get it? And because we are ‘La Caro’s son, as sons we must have a good family, we have to live as a community, in peace and tranquillity.”
From Wacquant’s perspective, the urban outcast living in these disadvantages neighbourhoods are actually political; actors rebelling against the inherited balance of power and the wider transformation of the State (Wacquant 2001). However, the described strategy breaks the pattern of the urban outcasts without chances as Wacquant argues (Wacquant, 2007). Rather than a political movement in the old sense Lamont and Bail describe this sort of situation as “equalisation strategies” used by members of stigmatized groups to establish equivalence with their counterparts in dominant majority groups. This strategy focuses on 1) challenge stereotypes about their group; 2) transform the meanings associated with their collective identity; and 3) create, enact or demand new forms of personal interaction on a day-to-day basis (Lamont & Bail, 2007).
Proud and effort
The second strategy is quite connected with the former. Within ‘La Caro’, being ‘thug’ today also implies overcoming all problematic aspects of poverty and lack of resources. People put the accent in the effort made by them to achieve what they have. They neither want to move out. But those people are not revolutionaries who want to overturn the system — rather they are people who want to get in on the system. The circumstances of their lives are often grim, yet they continue to seek the fruits promised to those who behave according to wider and conventional society norms. They may dislike the stigma of living there but at the same time they are proud of what they have and what they have been able to build up.
One example of this is the previously mentioned Carolina. She does not want to move out of ‘La Caro’ but she would prefer to see her children living out because of the neighbourhood´s labelling as a “bad place”. ‘How can you tell?’ I asked.
“Because they always ask where you are from, and when you say I’m from José María Caro… they say to you, ‘Is that too bad?’ or ‘Ahhh do you actually live there?’ so it is labelled like that.
When asked: Why do you think the población has this label?
Because of the delinquency and drugs, since years ago ‘La Caro’ was very well known, due to delinquency, but as I told you before, nothing ever happened to us, nobody of my family was robbed here within the población.”
Carolina identifies the stigma of a place full of thieves and at the same time tries to deny it, saying that her family never had a problem within the neighbourhood. Something similar happened with the ‘drugs’ issue. She repeatedly said to me during the interview that drugs were far away from her, in other blocks of the neighbourhood but not in her block. At the moment we went out together people smoking and selling marijuana could be seen just at the corner of her house. Despite the fact that this is quite related with the earlier stage of our relationship with Carolina, it also reveals the alienation of hiding an obvious reality in order to make sense of her discourse.
The “effort people” like Carolina addresses the personal effort – and the subsequent outcome, as the most important value over community’ cohesion. Carolina comes from a hard worker family that always avoided building dense relationships with their neighbours and only have acquaintance with few people within their block. They are proud of their hard work and their individual progress.
“My patrons know me and my mother forever, thus we never had any troubles at all. […] This has always made it easier for me to find jobs and I always was straight, I didn’t have troubles. So, when my patrons’ friends asked for someone to work for them, I never recommended anybody, because I don´t have many friends. I mean, I have friends, but they don’t work as maids, then I wasn´t able to recommend someone. Many people knew I was working on this, they were coming and saying to me, ‘when you have a job, remember me’, I don´t know. But I didn´t know them much, I mean, just hello and goodbye, but I never knew who they or their family really are. So, I chose not to recommend anybody, unlike a cousin or someone like this, someone who I really knew.”
Carolina seems not to address her status as “second-class citizen” and struggles to carry on, at times overcompensating by trying to be even more ‘decent’ than others from the neighbourhood. So, Carolina tends to draw a distinction between herself and the others and hopes that the ability to make such distinctions will somehow lead to social and economic improvement.
Salcedo and Rasse (2012) have called this strategy as “moyeneised poverty”, which means that despite being poor possess expectations, values, and behaviour like middle class families. While Carolina was working as a maid, her major asset was to be efficient, discrete and trustworthy employee, unlike her neighbours. Furthermore, a great deal of her effort rest upon the ability of detaches themselves from the rest of the neighbourhood.
‘Flaites’; the alienation process through violence
Finally there is alienation. The stress of living within a violent and stigmatized environment on a daily basis has a profound impact on people from ‘La Caro’. A deep alienation is only exacerbated by persistent urban poverty and close connected to inhabitants’ discourse about violence.
On the opposite side of ‘thugs’ and ‘effort people’ are ‘flaites’. This is also a complex index of Chile’s class system and inherent part of the culture. It could refer somehow like low-class, ghetto, uncultured, rude, dive, trashy, sketchy, and redneck. It is all of these things and none of them at the same time. “Flaite” is a word that applies not just to people, a person’s attitude, or current position. In ‘La Caro’, being ‘flaite’ means you are not proud of whom you are and you try to take advantage of every little crack the system or the person next door could give to you.
So, ‘Flaites’ are related with the old ‘thugs’, they are made-self-man and often violent, but there is a key difference; they do not care about their community. They are the drug dealers who sell to their own people within the neighbourhood, the ‘angustiado’ who does not recognise even his own mother stealing from her to buy more drugs; the muscle of the drugs gangs who can shoot to their childhood’s best friend or just the free riders who can swindle his very neighbours in a deal.
I talked a lot about this with the young people who had managed to study a university degree or at least have a job position. Manuel believes that ‘Flaites’ are those who gave up trying to develop their self, those who did not have support from their family and started to use drugs and dropped school. Manuel talks about his earlier friends in hip-hop who started to drop out.
“After a while everything was so fucked up, a lot of mates got into the very thing that we were against, they started to smoke shit, get it? And everything started changing because after that they did not care anymore about our work in ‘la pobla’, the guys were in their own thing and a few of us kept with the idea of rap being a denounce tool, get it?”
It is a hard judge on Manuel’s part against his own people but at the heart of this change is a set of informal rules of behaviour that reflect a desperate search for respect (Bourgois, 2003). Respect governs public social interactions, especially violent ones, among many residents, particularly young men and women. Possession of respect – and the credible threat of retribution – is highly valued because such respect could shield the ordinary person from the violence of the street. In this social context of persistent poverty and deprivation, alienation from the broader society’s institutions is widespread (Anderson, 1999). For Manuel, this change is a personal decision but hardly influenced by mainstream society, reflecting alienation not only on ‘Flaite’s attitude but also structural violence which pushes them to the edge. He tells:
“There are some assholes fighting all the time, if the assholes had more education I think they wouldn’t be like this; ‘flaites’. I mean, the assholes carrying guns, they stop everybody in the streets just to bother. I think this is because of the lack of education, if they had education, like to read a book, read the news, have culture, I think they wouldn’t be like that.”
The ‘Flaite’ emerges where the influence of the police ends and personal responsibility for one’s safety is felt to begin, resulting in a kind of “people’s law” based on street justice. This involves a form of social exchange that holds would-be perpetrators accountable by promising “eye for an eye” payback for transgressions. In service to this strategy, repeated displays of “nerve” and “heart” reinforce an individual’s credible reputation for revenge (Anderson, 2002). In turn, this reputation works to deter acts of aggression and “disrespect,” sources of great anxiety on ‘La Caro’ streets.
I have been discussing throughout the paper that people respond in many different ways to structural settings such us violence and exclusion, and not only seeking income in illegal or deviant activities as Wilson and Wacquant propose – which some of them actually do. People continuously redefine their socio-cultural context and rearticulate their subjectivities in ways which not at all times make completely sense. I have showed that some of them look for more individualistic approaches to better off, the ‘effort people’, some try to redefine the exclusion and the experience of violence through ‘equalisation strategies’, and some use violence to defend themselves within this alienated context. The described strategies are the solutions that people work out to cope with the structural setting.
While these orientations help to establish one’s place in the world, they also provide the foundation for the community’s social organisation. Most people identify themselves as ‘effort people,’ and consider themselves ‘thugs’ but in the interest of deterrence, especially when danger and uncertainty loom, it often becomes important for individuals to know what time it is, and to be perceived as more ‘flaite’ than ‘effort people’ and to act accordingly (Anderson, 2002). In ‘La Caro’, no matter if you are a ‘flaite’ or not, you need to be alert all the time, you need to avoid putting yourself in dangerous situations because you did not manage to read a specific situation.
This paper also challenges the idea of an inner-settlement in Latin American cities representing the extreme of slum vibrancy and community resilience, which had led to name them as “slums of hope” in contrast with “squatter-settlements of despair” in the outskirts (Eckstein, 1990). The moyeneised poverty attitude coexist in the same ghettoised area with strategies of resistant and alienation in a mix which is forgotten under the umbrella of violence and stigma. Nowadays ‘La Caro’ is placed in the inner city, next to urban infrastructure, but somehow is still on the symbolic periphery of the urban imaginary. The symbolic periphery refers to the stigma of been a violent and dangerous community, a ‘no-go area’ full of delinquents, in despite on this is actually quite a diverse area. Through these diverse coping-strategies new symbolic and fragmented peripheries are shaped, not only at the edge as in the past but in the inner-city were pockets of heterogeneous, stigmatised, excluded communities deal with violence and exclusion.
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 Juan Carlos Ruit, 3rd year PhD student, Department of Sociology, University of Essex. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
 A sort of less refined cocaine product. It includes crude intermediate stages of the cocaine preparation process and their freebase forms as well as “crack cocaine” prepared from pure cocaine hydrochloride.
 One of the most important avenues in the south part of Santiago which go across upper, middle and lower class districts.
 ‘Choro’ is the word used in Chilean slang to refer to this attitude.
 This was a killing occurred in 1962, during a national strike.
 This is the street name for ‘pasta base’ drug abusers, a toxic cocaine-derivate which give to their consumers a profound anxiety after the effects of the drug have passed. They look like a very anxious person (angustiado) because they are very desperate to get more drugs.
 That was the motto of the political campaign to overthrow the dictatorship.