Piñera And His Authoritarian Government, Human Right Violations Continuous
Author: Iván Ojeda Pereira. Sociology student, University of Chile. Research assistant, Sociology department at the University of Chile. Performs activities of teaching support and research in the Institution of Public Affairs and the Social Science Faculty of the University of Chile. Research published in academic journals are available at https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Ivan_Ojeda_Pereira. Postal code 5090000
According to the Criteria survey applied in June, Piñera's disapproval goes up to 77%, meanwhile the approval is negligible and does not exceed 17%. Since the social outbreak in October 2019 Sebastian Piñera’s government is dead, and it’s criticized for his poor, negligent, authoritarian, and violent way of ruling and dealing with social issues. This way of ruling continues nowadays, during the pandemic caused by Covid-19, prioritizing economic wealth over citizens' health. In this context, the leadership and ownership were taken over by the mayors of each municipality to get through the Covid-19 crisis, because if the guidelines from the government were followed Chile nowadays would be a cemetery. In the middle of a pandemic crisis, the former Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich, after claiming that “the virus could become a good person” was encouraging people to go out for a coffee or to drink a beer, and only weeks later Chile was leading in the Latin American ranking of deaths per million inhabitants caused by Covid-19. The lack of political capacity to rule was already too evident and different social organizations, with the emergence of mayors’ protagonism, managed to maintain forms of ruling in order to get out of the crisis.
¿And where was the president? Piñera after the social outbreak learned and was not even worried about pretending a false preoccupation for the people; He was too focused on taking repressive and authoritarian action to face another social crisis. He planned a series of repressive laws that criminalized almost any form of social protest; he released, with humanitarian pardon, inmates that were sentenced with crimes against humanity, convicted in Augusto Pinochet’s dictatorship; And meanwhile, the population was hungry, he worried about giving new repressive elements and weapons to the police. All of these actions were happening, meanwhile, he established an exceptional constitutional position and curfew in the whole country, because according to Piñera the virus has a fear of the military's machine guns; Maybe the president didn’t want to scare the virus, instead, he clearly wanted to scare the population.
According to the government, these measures were made to control Covid-19, however, try to implement constant plans of economic reactivation where the social distancing was broken and did not establish a mandatory quarantine for the whole country. It seems that the measures that Sebastián Piñera took were more orientated to establish an authoritarian presidential system than to protect the citizens. Piñera’s government does not have social legitimacy anymore and it rests exclusively in the Police and military forces gifted with an alarming impunity before the law.
The National Prosecutor's Office count 8.827 victims of institutional violent register after the social outbreak, 1362 are kids, girls, or teenagers and the reasons for the accusations are illegal pressures, abuse, violations, stripping, sexual abuse, and torture. There were 3342 citizens wounded by guns and 412 eye injuries. These crimes have been qualified as human rights violations by international organizations as ONU, International Amnesty, and Human Rights Watch, however, since today there is only one police officer condemned for serving time with probation. It seems that the police and military forces can do whatever they want and that the Chilean justice will turn a blind eye, as it did with the dictator Augusto Pinochet that was prosecuted by a Spain judge.
In this context, the 28 of July Piñera quit his narcissistic eagerness of putting a personalistic stream in the right and announcing a new change of cabinet. The new faces that entered the government have realized about the update in the ruler alliance where Piñera returns to the blankets and guardianship of the historical coup right. The ministry of interior and public security (in charge of the police and military forces) is passed to Victor Pérez, who was the mayor assigned in the dictatorship, a personal friend of Augusto Pinochet, a collaborator in Colonia Dignidad, and an open denialism in around the violation of the human rights that happened in October 2019. His denial is so big that he was Andres Chadwick (Minister of the interior during the social outbreak) strong defender during the impeachment that determined his responsibility in the terrible events that were mentioned earlier. For the new Minister of the Interior “in any case, it can be considered as a Human Right Violation”.
In this context, where the government has released even inmates that committed crimes against humanity through humanitarian pardon, is that a group of Mapuche community members from prisons in Angol and Temuco, many times unjustly detained, are guided by the Machi Celestino Córdova in a hunger strike more than 90 days. The community members demand the government that applied the 169 convention of OIT in their judicial situation and let them serve their sentences in their communities because a series of spiritual activities that the Machi must realize in their territory.
In this context, last week the Victoria, Ercilla, Curacautín, Traiguén, and Collipulli municipalities were taken over by Mapuches community members in a form of support for the strikers' demands. In response to this situation, the minister Perez traveled there and he reunited with different actors, authorizing the eviction of the municipalities by using the public force. The APRA’s spokesperson (self-claimed organization for the Araucania’s peace) Gloria Naveillan, an UDI militant, publicly send the people to attack the community members that were in the municipalities with anything.
The situation ended in a public lynching, wherein the midst of curfew, Carabineros of Chile (Police) ignored their institutional obligations and partnered with a group of 200 armed civilians. I mention again that in the midst of a curfew, 200 civilians were in the street without respect social distance measures and the Carabineros of Chile did not do anything. They even burned the cars of the Mapuche community members and accompanied by the police they entered into the municipalities, indiscriminately beating the Mapuche community members that were inside. Apart from that, after the breach of the state's responsibilities of looking after the security of the detained, they were not even taken to check on his injuries as the Chilean legislation requires. This situation is very problematic because there could have happened 2 situations: 1) Chilean’s Carabineros worked as a group of bullies, that was allied with a group of civil armed people that don’t follow the constitutions and its legislation or 2) the ministry Perez gives those instructions.
In front of these terrible events, the 2nd of August the Interamerican court of humans rights broadcasted a declaration urging the Chilean state to respect the protection against the discrimination of ethnic origin. However, it seems that the recommendation did not cause any repercussions. Today in the afternoon, a new protest happened and the Chilean Carabineros did not respect any of the protocols, neither the fundamental right, they shot rubber bullets at the Mapuches community members’ face and body. These caused significant injuries and luckily did not take lives.
Piñera’s authoritarian government only rests in the army’s shield and the Mapuches conflict turns in an assassin direction once more. Urges that the international organizations send a new mission to Chile that pressures the government to stop the violence, government terrorism, and guarantee trials against the people that are responsible for the huge violations of the human rights that keep occurring.