In Chile, this box of ashes is said to be what's left of USD $500 million worth of pagarés, or student debt notes, burned by a performance artist known as Papas Fritas (french fries).
The man whose real name is Francisco Tapia Salinas videoed the art-act of burning the IOUs, and said he stole them from the for-profit college Universidad del Mar. The video touched a nerve with other young people in Chile, and went viral.
“It’s over," he says in the video. "It’s finished. 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 sh—y life, and I live it day by day.”
“This is my act of love for you.”
More on the controversial video and the history of student debt in Chile here, and here. Updated reports indicate the artist-activist may have some jail time ahead.
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