A brief look: Camila Vallejo, the face of the Chilean winter

By Theresa Mallinson 26 August 2011

Despite its eminently pun-friendly name, the Chilean Winter doesn't have quite the same ring to it as the Arab Spring. But student leader Camila Vallejo has injected some hotness into the campaign that's seen students protesting across Chile since late June. By THERESA MALLINSON.

Other publications have coyly labelled Camila Vallejo “charismatic” rather than “hot”, but we all know what they’re thinking. Vallejo herself is frank about how her looks have helped her, although points out that they are only a hook. “You have to recognise that beauty can be a hook. It can be a compliment, they come to listen to me because of my appearance, but then I explain the ideas. A movement as historical as this cannot be summarised in such superficial terms,” the Guardian quoted her as saying.

But there’s no denying Vallejo has a growing global fan base, premised as much on her beauty as on her intellect and activism. Bolivian vice president Álvaro García Linera recently proclaimed, “We are all in love with her”, and several tributes have been uploaded on YouTube. A video showing a montage of Vallejo clips to the backing of Green Day’s “She’s a Rebel” has more than 20,000 hits. “She’s the symbol/of resistance/and she’s holding on my/heart like a hand grenade,” read the lyrics.

Watch: Camila Vallejo – She’s a Rebel

Vallejo heads up the Chilean Student Federation, which has mobilised protests demanding an end to the country’s “neo-liberal education model”. The students are calling for sweeping reforms, among them that public education should be free. So far, they’ve rejected President Sebastian Piñera’s offers of $4 billion more in funding for tertiary education, a reduction in student-loan interest rates from 5.6% to 2% and additional scholarships.

Granted, Vallejo may have a pretty face. But her courageous leadership over the past few months has shown that she also has balls of steel. DM

El link original de la fotografía es el siguiente http://www.flickr.com/photos/manuelvenegas/6054020703/in/photostream.


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