Chilean Government Bogged Down in Escalation of Violence

Fires perpetrated by unknown armed men multiplied in La Araucanía and other areas.
Fires perpetrated by unknown armed men multiplied in La Araucanía and other areas. Photo: Prensa Latina

Santiago de Chile: Chile closes the week with an escalation of violence in the south of the country that today keeps the government bogged down in choosing a political or military solution to a conflict with deep historical roots, Prensa Latina publishes.

In previous days, fires on land and machinery of forestry companies, homes and vehicles multiplied in La Araucanía and other areas, perpetrated by unknown armed men whom the police forces seem unable to capture.

Faced with such a crisis, President Sebastián Piñera announced on Monday measures to combat what he described as terrorist acts, among them the prioritization of several legislative projects and a National Agreement with political and social forces against violence.

The president made those announcements after meeting with the Minister of the Interior and senior representatives of the Carabineros, the Investigative Police and the Armed Forces, whom he sent the next day to the south of the country to coordinate possible punitive actions.

But the response to the president from the opposition and ruling parties was to point out the government’s failure to find a way out of the crisis, although they also presented diametrically different proposals on a possible solution.

Thus, the socialist presidential candidate Paula Narváez considered that the problem is not solved with security and military measures but with political agreements with the Mapuche people.

In a similar vein, the communist mayor Daniel Jadue, the highest valued figure within the opposition, pointed out that the government has done nothing to pay off the debt with the original nations.

On the other hand, the Republican Party, on the extreme right, considered that the solution to the crisis ‘will not be achieved by politicians, but by the Armed Forces and of Order’.

This position of strength was also joined by deputies from Chile Vamos, the government coalition, who even asked the president to impose a state of siege in La Araucanía.

Faced with these pressures, the president met on Thursday with the presidents of the right-wing parties to address the crisis, and according to reports, he rejected, at least for now, applying that measure of force in the southern territories.

Finally, this Friday he held a meeting with representatives of the Parliament, Justice and the Comptroller’s Office, among others, with the objective, he said, of seeking agreements and coordination so that these institutions do their best to contribute to the solution of the problem.

But there, too, the differences remained latent, because after the meeting, the president of the Senate, Adriana Muñoz, considered a military intervention in La Araucanía unacceptable, where, she recalled, there is not only a conflict due to violence, but also due to a historical demand for rights of the Mapuche people and that has not been given any attention.

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