An artist who goes by the name of Papas Fritas (which means “french fries”) is being revered as a modern-day Robin Hood due to his recent activism. The Chilean resident allegedly stole $500 million worth in student debt papers and burned them in a defiant act of art.
The Washington Post relays that late last week, the artist uploaded a casual video of himself confessing to stealing the documents from the for-profit Universidad del Mar and setting them on fire.
“It’s over,” he said. “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.”
When police caught up to the criminal, all they found was a bin of ash.
In case you are not aware, the price for higher education in Chile is among the highest in the world. This is because, in 1973, General Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship took control of the country and privatized the education system. Universities are now for-profit, and citizens are tired of paying for education, which they believe should be a universal right.
As one student protester told Fox News Latino in 2012,
“We have to say once again that education is not a consumer product, education is a right.”
Papas Fritas, whose real name is Francisco Tapia, claims to have been a part of the recent student takeover of the Universidad del Mar. His contribution was to collect the $500 million in student debt papers, burn them, and pour the ashes into a bin for an exhibit.
The University now faces multiple headaches in securing the debt that Papas Fritas destroyed. Reportedly, they must now sue each student individually to receive a repayment of what is owed, according to the Santiago Times. Of course, a number of students maintain that the debt was illegal anyway, therefore, are refusing to repay it.
Let’s hope the artist’s activism was worth it, for he may face up to 5 years in prison for lifting and destroying the documents.
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