Melba Martinez is still out of work and struggling to feed two children on her state ration book and a daily hustle for extra rice or cooking oil.
We're sure that'll change, now that Barack and Raul have talked. In the meantime, put on a happy face for the block watchers;"There's no work, no money," Martinez said, her voice rising in fury. "How are you going to buy a pair of shoes that cost $20? If you buy them, you don't eat. If you eat, you go barefoot."
Government officials in Santiago did not return repeated phone calls from The Associated Press seeking comment on conditions in the city. That wariness extends to the populace in a city where many are reluctant to talk to the press and cast nervous looks to see who may be listening.
"There are problems, there are many problems that can't be resolved," secondary-school teacher Julieta Barrera said. Then, nervously glancing at those waiting alongside her on line outside a bank, she added: "but up 'til now I'm very happy with everything."