Chilean activist and artist Francisco Tapia, also known as ‘Papas Fritas,’ has stolen and burnt $500 million worth of “pagares,” or debt papers. He then uploaded the video onto social media, claiming he had “freed” students by setting the papers alight.
The artist made his claim in a video that went viral on May 12, where he says that debt owed to the Universidad del Mar is now worthless.
The ashes of the burnt legal papers were later confiscated by police after they were displayed at the Centro Cultural Gabriela mistral (GAM) exhibition.
“It’s over, 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 shitty life, and I live it day by day – this is my act of love for you,” Tapia says in the five minutes of the video, parts of which were translated by the Santiago Times.
The theft and subsequent destruction of the documents happened during a ‘toma,’ or student takeover, of the campus.
Authorities began closing down Universidad del Mar last year due to financial irregularities, and while most of the students had to find an alternative school, the university is still collecting student loan payments. Now the owners of the university will have to sue each of the individual students – a very time consuming and costly process….