It is not poverty that is driving Chile's middle class into the streets to join massive protests: it is debt, brought on by sky-high private health and education costs that have created an economic fragility many find unbearable.
That is why so many have taken part in two weeks of social upheaval, protesting against the economic policies of Chile's ruling elite.
Chile has an economic record that is the envy of Latin America: poverty has never been lower, dropping from 40 per cent to less than 10 per cent in 30 years, and transforming this country of 18 million into one where middle class citizens are the majority.
But for many, the ultra-liberal economic model inherited from the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-90) - which privatized water, health, education and pensions - has generated a permanent worry about unexpected expenses.
Health, education and pensions may be the biggest worries but on top of that are increases in electricity costs, a proliferation of motorway tolls around Santiago and an unregulated medication market.
For fed-up Chileans, it's this accumulation of expenses that weighs so heavily.
It was against this backdrop that a seemingly innocuous 3.75 per cent hike in the price of a metro ticket lit a fuse under decades of pent-up frustration.
In a bid to douse the flames of discontent, conservative President Sebastian Pinera announced a raft of social measures: suspending a 9.2 per cent hike in electricity bills and an annual 3.5 per cent increase in toll charges.
But that didn't calm the public.
Chile has awoken, has become one of the main slogans of anti-government protesters since Oct 18.