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Montevideo, July 15th 2024 - 11:18 UTC



Chile back to state of exception in southern provinces

Wednesday, May 18th 2022 - 21:37 UTC
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Siches had experienced first-hand what radical indigenous groups can do Siches had experienced first-hand what radical indigenous groups can do

Despite its reluctance to resort to the same constitutional mechanisms adopted by the Sebastián Piñera administration, the Chilean Government of leftwing President Gabriel Boric Font Wednesday announced a state of exception to address violence in the indigenous southern zones.

Boric's initial proposal was for an “intermediate state,” which lacked support from his own coalition due to the traditional rejection of the militarization of La Araucanía by leftwing groups.

“We have decided to make use of all the tools to provide security,” Interior Minister Izkia Siches admitted.

The indigenous southern Chile has endured violence, including the burning of lorries and attacks on police checkpoints, all followed by a call by radical Mapuche leader Héctor Llaitul of the Arauco Malleco Coordination (CAM) to armed struggle.

Siches, who during her first week in office in March was prevented from driving through indigenous territory due to shots fired in the air, confirmed that “it is evident that in recent times we have had an increase in acts of violence on the roads,” which makes “the execution of development projects more difficult, perpetuating conditions of poverty and inequity.”

“This is why we have asked the Public Prosecutor's Office for a prosecutor with a preferential dedication to the investigation of criminal organizations that threaten coexistence in the Biobío Region and La Araucanía, so that all parties can be assured that crimes will be prosecuted according to the law mandates,” the minister explained.

In that regard, the Government had decreed “a state of emergency to safeguard the routes of the Arauco and Biobío Province” and “allow the free transit of people, supplies and the execution of policies that can improve the quality of life of the inhabitants of these territories.”

“We will return to normalcy,” she pledged, as she insisted on mechanisms undertaken by Boric's administration to purchase land and return it to native communities, in addition to creating a Ministry of Indigenous Peoples, among other initiatives.

Christian Democrat Senator Matias Walker said that “I know that it is not an easy decision, but I am certain that most Chileans feel that a decision that seeks to protect the safety and security of people makes sense,” while Communist Senator Daniel Núñez acknowledged that “I am not happy, but within the options it was reasonable.”

“Unfortunately, when movements of an ethnic or nationalist nature become radicalized to the extreme, we reach dead ends as happened in Spain with ETA. We do not want that path for Chile, that is why we are looking for a political solution, but safeguarding the lives of all,” said Núñez.

Categories: Politics, Chile.

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