Saturday, January 21, 2012

Civil Rights in Chile: Maid Refuses to get on Bus

The poor throughout the world are still second-class citizens. This will continue to be the case as long as wealth rules politics:

Felicita Pinto arrived early at the gates of the luxurious community where she labors as a maid, but the minibus to her employer's home was late. So she decided to walk six blocks to work, on streets lined with broad lawns and imposing homes.

Security guards quickly chased her down and forced the 57-year-old widow back to the gate. Pinto's employer protested, as he had before, against the community bylaws that forbid servants to move at will.

Pinto's simple stroll helped set off national soul-searching over discrimination and mistreatment of domestic workers across Chile, where leaders ache to be accepted as representing an enlightened, developed nation. Local news media heard of the case and outrage followed when another homeowner in the El Algarrobal II development sought to justify the restrictions.

[...]Discrimination toward domestic workers is among the more entrenched social ills in Latin America and beyond. In luxury complexes just south of Peru's capital, maids can't swim in the ocean until their employers have left the water. In Mexico City, some luxury restaurants prohibit maids from sitting down to eat and some high-rises force workers to take the service elevators.