The Chile revolution dog who led the student protests

Street art keanu reeves with dog
Street art reimagining Keanu Reeves as the patron saint of stray dogs in Chile. He’s holding a puppy called Negro ‘Matapacos’, Chilean symbol of protest and resistance against police brutality.

In the early 2010s when the students in Chile took to the streets against the privatization of universities demanding education became more accessible for everybody, little did they know that a dog would become the symbol of the revolution.

This socialist hero wore a bandana and unflinching courage.

Negro ‘Matapacos’, the stray dog showed up at almost every student protest.

He defied tear gas and water cannons and accompanied the students in their struggle for affordable education.

Negro Matapacos, the Chile revolution dog

Although driven by a common purpose, protests need more than placards and petitions, posters and people; they need an element of emotion — that one thread that ties them beyond speeches and editorials.

For Chile student protests, that unifying thread was a dog.

Chile revolution dog

Negro Matapacos gained a cult status among the student circles of Santiago. He’d participate in the street marches with a no-holds-barred attitude against the police.

His rebel antics won a plethora of fans who (you guessed it), happened to be protesters.

Chile dog Negro Matapacos
The slang Negro ‘Matapacos’ which loosely translates to black ‘cop-killer’, was given to him as he was as fierce as it gets when it came to defending the students.

Loved and adored by the student community, he was a familiar face on the university campus. A student named Maria Campos provided him with what would become his signature, coloured bandanas. At the peak of his popularity, he was also the star of a documentary film.

Negro Matapacos passed away in 2017. Tributes poured in all the major media. Murals featuring Negro Matapacos adorned the walls.

Chile dog poster

He lives on – printed on flags, t-shirts, pamphlets as a symbol of solidarity and resistance.

Chile dog flag

Far beyond Santiago, drawings of him have been spotted from New York to Shibuya station in Japan. Statues of Hachiko and Balto have been on occasions adorned with red handkerchieves as a mark of respect to Negro Matapacos.

dog images protest
Two years after his passing, Matapacos again went viral on social media in late 2019 when an artist posted an image on Instagram protesting against the hike in metro fare.

Somewhere up in the clouds, Matapacos is still braving the odds to support his humans.

Viva la revolution!

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Published by Abhishek Joshi

The man who was Peter Pan — aka 'Dog With Blog'. Raconteur, Reader, Backpacker... If I were an element, I'd be radioactive.

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