A video by Francisco Tapia, aka artist/activist “Papas Fritas,” went viral this week in which he admitted to burning the legal papers certifying debt owed by Universidad del Mar students, therefore liberating the students from their debt obligations. A heap of ashes is apparently all that remains of $500 million in “pagarés” — or debt papers — nicked and burned by the Chilean activist.
“It’s over, it’s finished,” Tapia said in his video, the Santiago Time reported. “You don’t have to pay another peso [of your student loan debt]. We have to lose our fear, our fear of being thought of as criminals because we’re poor. I am just like you, living a shitty life, and I live it day by day — this is my act of love for you.”
Chile's higher education costs are the highest of nearly any nation according to multi-nation Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, or the OECD.
Students in Scandinavian countries pay less than 5 percent of the costs and U.S. families pay more than 40 percent, Chilean households must pay more than 75% from their own pockets.
This guy is essentially the Robin Hood of learning, and for that we salute him.