“Our government is pursuing crimes and is going to pursue them with the full weight of the law. Our government is not pursuing ideas or statements,” Chilean President Gabriel Boric told a news conference. The conflict in the southern part of the country involving the Mapuche indigenous community and large business groups has been going on for several decades and has not been resolved by any of the Chilean governments.
In an unexpected turn to its policy, the Government of Gabriel Boric decreed last Monday, May 16, the state of exception in two regions of the south of the country where it has existed for decades a territorial dispute between the Chilean State, forestry companies and Mapuche communities for the alleged exploitation of lands considered ancestral by indigenous people.
Specifically, it was the Minister of the Interior, Izkia Siches, who announced the state of emergency in the country, a measure that allows the deployment of the Armed Forces in the “macrosur zone” where the uniformed officers will seek to appease the growing violence.
The decision to send military personnel to this delicate conflict in the country, which Gabriel Boric vehemently criticized before coming to power, gives direct authority to the platoon to guard routes and highways in the region of La Araucanía and in the neighboring provinces of Arauco and Biobío. , focus of episodes of violence that has increased in recent weeks.
“It is evident that in recent times we have had an increase in acts of violence on the roads, we have witnessed cowardly attacks. We have also seen extended road closures, which put free transit at risk and cut supply chains, increasing the cost of living in the most backward areas of our country,” justified the measure that the Minister of the Interior, Izkia Siches, fiercely criticized for months on Monday night.
And it is that the minister herself witnessed the critical security situation when, two months ago, she received shots in the air as a violent warning of her arrival in the area with the aim of engaging in dialogue with the communities.
a difficult decision
With a little more than two months in power, the Chilean president, Gabriel Boric, affirmed this Thursday that the decision to decree the state of emergency seeks to “guarantee the security of citizens throughout the national territory and guarantee the supply and free transit”.
During his presidential campaign, Boric had promised that if he came to power, he would not renew the constitutional state of emergency that his predecessor, Sebastián Piñera, had decreed in October last year.
On repeated occasions, the former student leader was convinced that the military forces are the solution “for a historical and territorial problem like this one.”
In the midst of constant demands from truck drivers and forestry workers to restore security in the area and without the support of citizens for the government’s decision, the young 36-year-old president has received accusations from different political and social sectors of having ” betrayed an electoral promise”.
Those who have come out to defend the Chilean president assure that the state of exception this time is not a continuation of the measures taken by Piñera, they assure that it is completely different and that the focus of the new measure is in order to preserve public roads. without establishing military operations around indigenous homes.
a historical conflict
In La Araucanía and other areas of southern Chile there has been a territorial dispute for decades. There, the Mapuche people, the largest indigenous ethnic group in the South American country, claim the lands they have inhabited for several centuries and today belong, for the most part, to forestry companies and large economic complexes that, according to the Mapuches, exploit ancient forests. in which native trees have been replaced by eucalyptus.
Officially this process is known as the “Pacification of La Araucanía”, in which the struggle between the Mapuche and the occupation of the Chilean State at the end of the 19th century is explained.
In an interview with France 24 in Spanish, the political scientist, analyst and former diplomat, Gabriel Gaspar, argued that “in reality the debt belongs to the Chilean State and not to a particular government with the original peoples. This issue is part of the deliberations that have developed the constitutional convention that is about to end his mandate and propose to the country a new social pact in which the recognition of the rights of indigenous peoples will be included as an important chapter ” .
In the long historical conflict there have been, almost daily, arson attacks on machinery, roadblocks that hinder the country’s supply and damage to the public good.
In the clashes, a large number of Mapuches have died at the hands of State agents, as well as dozens of policemen and settlers.
With EFE, AP and local media.
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