An insensitive tourist package titled “Vivir La Revolución Chilena,” or “Live The Chilean Revolution,” was advertised under the Airbnb Experiences banner after two months of unrest and protests fueled by economic inequality. The listing was swiftly removed last week after backlash from both Chileans and confused Airbnb users.
According to The Guardian, $26 would get someone a bottle of water, protective eye goggles and a two-hour tour around the emblematic fixtures of the months-long protest (e.g. Santiago’s Plaza Italia). After warranted outcry on social media platforms, y quizas direct complaints to the platform itself, the ad listing was removed from the Airbnb Experiences page.
“The safety of our host and guest community is a priority for Airbnb. If we are made aware that an experience and/or host violates our platform policies, community standards, or terms of service, we take action,” they wrote in a statement.
The listing earnestly described recent events through an obscure, artistic lens. “Chile has awakened and its capital is more alive than ever,” an excerpt read, according to Al Día. “Observe and learn through the art of demonstration and its artists, what are the social demands that have driven this social movement.”
Sebastián Nieto, the 30-year-old behind the idea and the person who planned on taking on the somewhat educational latter half of that listing’s promise, told El Dínamo he believes this was a way to “give tourists access to unique and rare places they can’t access without a local.”
But many didn’t agree with Nieto. “The social fight is NOT a business,” read one tweet in response to the listing. “What’s happening in Chile is not a ‘Wild on’ experience,” read another, “it’s the fight for equality and dignity. No to morbid tourism.”
Many others echoed the sentiments of disgust, including a person who reached out from Germany to tell Nieto he was “taking advantage of the movement.”
“More than [that],” Nieto responded in conversation with El Dínamo, “I am adapting to what people who come to Santiago are looking for.”
Ironically, the political uprising in Chile is in essence a fight against the selfish, money-hungry nature of a few at the expense of the livelihood and rights of countless others. It has been a bloody, brutal fight that has led to at least 23 deaths and more than 2,000 injuries – a significant majority of those being people left blind due to rubber pellets to the eyes.
“There are people in custody. Others have disappeared. We are repeating history, and many people are reliving their traumas,” a Santiago resident told Remezcla in October. “Blood is flowing and it is tainting the streets,” added a Valparaíso resident.
Needless to say, the “art of demonstration” Nieto so mindlessly describes is an all but pretty one.
“Chileans are hurting every day that they have to protest,” Fran Sasso, who has an educational nonprofit tour of her own, told The Guardian. “You shouldn’t make money off pain, or turn it into a spectacle.”