Tren al sur: el otro terremoto de Chile

El desfalco a la Empresa de Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE) obligó al cierre de numerosas estaciones y dejó a cientos de comunas sumidas en la pobreza y el olvido. La triste herencia del gobierno de Lagos se convirtió en la bandera de lucha de un pueblo que se cansó de esperar: Yumbel quiere ser recodado no solo por su santo.

Juanita Sánchez (70) sabe que hoy es un día distinto para el pueblo. LYumbel 3a tranquila rutina que lleva a diario, interrumpida solo por el paso de un tren de carga o un saludo de algún vecino, se trasforma en un ritmo agitado con la llegada de miles de peregrinos. Hoy es el “20 chico”, la segunda conmemoración que se realiza en el año en nombre de San Sebastián.

Para Yumbel, el Santo se ha convertido en una suerte de “salvación”. Con la festividad, cientos de personas instalan sus cocinerías y puestos que conforman un gran persa en la avenida principal. Francisca Jiménez (42) y María González (38) se las ingenian para traer distintos productos desde Santiago que les permitirán “salvar la olla” por algunos meses.

Ser joven en Yumbel es aún más difícil. La falta de recursos y programas dirigidos a fomentar la capacitación y el empleo, se suman a las dificultades para quienes viven lejos del centro o en zonas rurales. Y es que la comuna se encuentra dividida en dos polos totalmente distintos: en “Yumbel Pueblo” se encuentran los principales servicios, municipio, colegios, terminales y biblioteca, mientras que en “Yumbel Estación” el tiempo parece detenido desde el día que dejó de funcionar como parada del tren de pasajeros.

Walter Moreno (21) sabe bastante de esta historia, “los candidatos aparecen en elecciones ofreciendo ayuda, y luego desaparecen”, relata que no existen políticas locales, lo que facilita que muchos jóvenes opten por el consumo de alcohol y drogas. Verónica Yáñez (60) agrega que tampoco existe un registro que permita saber la cantidad de suicidios anuales, pero es un “rumor silencioso”, cada cierto tiempo llega una triste noticia sobre la partida de algún joven del pueblo.

Y no me digas pobre por ir viajando así

Durante la década de los noventa el tren de pasajeros era el principal medio de transporte parayumbel 1 quienes viajaban al sur de Chile. La máquina verde conocida como “el tren de los pobres”, salía a las 10 de la mañana de la Estación Central. Una vez que sonaba el pitazo, cientos de pasajeros se agolpaban para subir por ventanas y puertas para alcanzar un asiento.

Verónica relata: “El camino era largo y no había reserva de pasajes, pero la gente era muy solidaria. A Yumbel nos demorábamos casi ocho horas si la máquina no quedaba en pana, pero no nos aburríamos porque conversábamos, compartíamos un pan, unos huevos o un pollo, no importaba, estábamos todos contentos porque nos íbamos al sur”.

La llegada del tren era todo un acontecimiento para Yumbel. La gente salía a esperar la llegada su llegaba y si se producía algún retraso, no faltaba la familia que llegaba con un termo para ofrecer un té caliento o un techo si hacía frío. La estación era un lugar de encuentro, en los videos los niños jugaban mientras sus padres conversaban, o compartían con los trabajadores del ferrocarril.

El paisaje hoy es muy distinto. El abandono de la estación, sumado al terremoto del 2010, dejó una infraestructura en peligrosas condiciones: paredes trizadas, vidrios quebrados y una escasa luz, que cada cierto tiempo acoge a uno que otro solitario que se detiene a ver el rápido paso del tren de carga o a “distraer la mente”.

El desfalco a la Empresa de Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE)

La Empresa de los Ferrocarriles del Estado fue creada a fines del siglo XIX, y representó un aporte fundamental en la descentralización del territorio, y un estímulo para el desarrollo de las actividades productivas del país.

Hasta la década de los cincuenta constituyó el principal medio de transporte, pero debido a la falta de una política estatal de inversiones para su mantención, la crisis comenzó a agudizarse en los setenta y reventó definitivamente en dictadura. Los gobiernos de la Concertación una vez en el poder, promulgaron una nueva Ley Orgánica de EFE que permitió la creación de siete filiales bajo la figura de sociedad anónima.

Años más tarde, la administración de Lagos terminó por sepultar a la empresa pública. El año 2005, el ex Presidente cortaba la cinta inaugural de lo que sería el plan histórico de transporte de pasajeros ferroviarios en Chile, que uniría a Santiago y Puerto Montt. Sin embargo, nada de eso ocurrió. Los trenes y las estaciones quedaron vacías, y dos años más tarde la deuda de la Empresa de Ferrocarriles del Estado (EFE) ascendía los mil millones de dólares.

Luis Asenjo, presidente del directorio de EFE, fue acusado como el principal responsable de la quiebra. De acuerdo a las irregularidades detectadas por la Contraloría, autorizó más de 35 contratos irregulares, y permitió la compra de cuatro trenes a la española Renfe -que dejaron de funcionar al poco tiempo- y no a una compañía china que los ofrecía a un precio más bajo.

Un pueblo que despierta: “Apostamos por la construcción de poder popular”

José Ángel Hogas (30) y Walter Moreno (21) se dirigen a laYumbel 2 Radio Centinela para invitar al pueblo a sumarse a una gran una actividad que vienen preparando desde hace un tiempo: “Estación Yumbel siempre vivo”.

El objetivo es impulsar la organización para restaurar la estación de trenes, declararla patrimonio y habilitar el paso del tren de pasajeros. El sueño es ambicioso, pero de lograrse podría mejorar la conectividad con las ciudades y pueblos aledaños, facilitará el empleo y permitirá un comercio más justo.

José Ángel Hogas afirma: “Apostamos por la construcción de poder popular, generando recursos a través de la autogestión y el encuentro de la comunidad. Creemos firmemente que llegó el momento de operar por fuera de la institucionalidad.”

Para los jóvenes resulta urgente superar el asistencialismo, y dar el puntapié inicial para lograr un encuentro entre los pobladores y potenciar el trabajo colaborativo que les permita resolver y discutir sus propias problemáticas. Es por ello que durante la jornada participarán escritores, músicos y artistas del pueblo.

Frente al riesgo de que la iniciativa sea cooptada por los futuros candidatos en las lecciones municipales, José Ángel Hogas sostiene: “No queremos que vengan políticos o futuros… Somos hijos de la Estación, nacidos y criados en el andén, y por lo mismo no aceptamos populismo barato y sin fundamentos.”

El trabajo que iniciará Yumbel será un ejemplo para cientos de comunas que permanecen aisladas y esperan el sueño de restablecer el servicio de trenes. Resulta incomprensible que un país que pretende ingresar a la OCDE y que hacia el exterior se muestra “en vías de desarrollo”, no cuente con una política para restablecer definitivamente un sistema de transportes que se caracteriza por ser económico y ecológico.

Pero no solo se trata del transporte de pasajeros. El sistema ferroviario chileno actualmente solo transporta el 10% de la carga total que se moviliza en el país, cifra distante de la que exhiben países desarrollados como Estados Unidos y Australia, donde la penetración del tren en el movimiento de productos supera el 40%. En México y Brasil, en tanto, llega al 25%.

Lo que las autoridades no han sido capaces de cumplir, los jóvenes de un pueblo de la Región del Bío-Bío comienzan a levantar con humildad y convicción. Yumbel no quiere ser recordado solo dos veces al año por su Santo, quiere convertirse en el comienzo de una lucha que dará el pitazo que anunciará la salida del primer tren con destino a Puerto Montt. Tren al sur.

por Periódico Solidaridad

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