It is not uncommon for people to go on strike here in Chile. In fact, strikes, or huelgas, are notorious—when I first came here to study, I was warned that after Piñera was elected, I probably wouldn’t have my sociology courses as planned. The faculty and students would be on strike. But the earthquake happened. Welcome to Chile.
Anyhow, Chilean post office workers recently settled a month-long strike, gaining an 80-dollar monthly raise, among other benefits. In 23 days of huelga-licious paralysis, the 5,000 workers cost the Correos de Chile some 13.5 million dollars… This was a particularly costly strike, but again, not too uncommon.
What is actually uncommon is for animals to go on strike in Chile. More specifically, sea lions.
Apparently, sea lions do show up occasionally on the streets of Talcahuano. But the number of sea lions that have been interrupting transportation and even attacking some pedestrians in the recent weeks is unprecedented.
Given that overfishing has depleted Chile’s fish population to its lowest levels in history, we shouldn’t be surprised that sea lions have taken to the streets. Although new laws responding to this overfishing took effect in February, the sea lions are too smart for that—they seem to put little faith in the easily manipulated law committees and relatively unbridled big businesses.
To quote the theme song for the week, and probably for the sea lions’ strike: “I know there’s fish out there, but where—Gd only knows.”
YAH YAH YAAAAAAAAH YO!