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Montevideo, May 22nd 2022 - 01:39 UTC

 

 

Chilean Deputies pass State of Exception for southern provinces

Tuesday, March 8th 2022 - 09:50 UTC
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The southern provinces suffer recurrent episodes of rural violence The southern provinces suffer recurrent episodes of rural violence
It was one of Piñera's last decisions. He leaves office next Friday with his ratings of approval way below those of former dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1990. It was one of Piñera's last decisions. He leaves office next Friday with his ratings of approval way below those of former dictator Augusto Pinochet in 1990.

Chile's Lower House Monday passed 73 votes in favor, 41 against, and five abstentions the renewal of the State of Exception in four southern provinces in the Bíobio and La Araucanía regions. The measure still has to be approved by the Senate.

It was President Sebastián Piñera's ninth such request since Oct. 12 last. It allows the Armed Forces to support police operations, a strategy strongly criticized by the opposition and indigenous movements which maintain that it only adds more tension to the conflict.

But this time around Piñera is just a few days from finishing his term in office. President-elect Gabriel Boric is to be sworn in March 11.

As MercoPress has already reported, Piñera will go into retirement with his ratings of approval below those of former dictator Augusto Pinochet when he stepped down as the country returned to democratic rule in 1990.

The southern provinces suffer recurrent episodes of rural violence, which in the last year have taken the form of riots, attacks on agricultural machinery and land, fires, and shootings with fatalities.

Some of these events are part of the so-called “Mapuche conflict,” which confronts the State and the country's main indigenous group that claims the lands they have inhabited for centuries and which now belong, for the most part, to large agricultural and forestry companies in the hands of powerful economic groups.

Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado supported defended the proposal, assuring that acts of violence have decreased since the measure has been in force and affirmed that “it does not go against a specific ethnic group or native people”.

The measure will be in force until March 25 and is the last extension that Piñera enters before leaving office next Friday. Boric has said he would not seek an extension.

Opposition groups refused to endorse the State of Exception and downplayed the data provided by the government.

Unlocking the conflict in the southern zone will be one of the most complex issues for the incoming administration, which has announced its willingness to dialogue with all parties involved and has repeatedly condemned the use of violence.

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