Chilean star Cami talks to People CHICA about the political crisis in her country and what she has witnessed at protests.

By Lena Hansen
October 24, 2019 12:37 PM

While she is thrilled with her two nominations for the Latin Grammys - for Best New Artist and Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album - Chilean singer Cami admits it's hard to celebrate when her country is facing a devastating political crisis. "I dedicate my nominations to the people of Chile," she said. The 22-year-old, whose full name is Camila Gallardo, is the second most-streamed Chilean artist on Spotify Chile and has won the prestigious Gaviota de Oro Award at the Viña Del Mar International Song Festival. However, she can't fully enjoy herself while promoting her art in the United States, she says, because she is anxious to get back home to join the protesters on the street.

The protests began after Chilean President Sebastián Piñera announced he was planning to raise the price of subway fares. People expressed their discontent over economic inequality in the country and the streets soon filled with demonstrators, who clashed with police in Santiago and other cities. "It really affected me," Cami says. "I was protesting with the people a few days ago. I'm out of the country right now but I feel like a caged lion, pacing from side to side, on the phone all day trying to know what's happening, and all I want now is to go back to be with my people and help as much as I can."

Cortesía

Cami feels now is the right time for action. "It's time for people to speak out," she says. "We are the children of a dictatorship. Our parents had a dictatorship, our grandparents, too, and my generation never thought it would be in this situation. We don't have a dictatorship today but we have military curfew and the army is in the street. It's a complex situation."

She feels devastated by what she has witnessed in the streets of Santiago. "The military is in the streets shooting innocent people, there is so much violence. The people themselves are stopping the soldiers and stopping what is happening. People take care of one another when there are shots fired, they help others who have been wounded by pellets. What's happening is terrible, but at the same time I admire the Chilean people so much for everything we are doing to lift ourselves up."

Cortesía

Cami adds about the protests: "The Chilean people are not at war - people are out there with pans and sticks fighting for their rights." She is hopeful for a better future. "I trust my flag, I trust the Chilean people and I know we will overcome this. We are strong, we have been through this before and we have lifted each other up after earthquakes and other [hardships]. It was necessary for people to say once and for all what was really happening because the injustices were brutal."

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