Carabineros assassinated.

In the early hours of the 97th anniversary of the founding of the Carabineros, three non-commissioned officers were murdered on the road between Cañete and Tirúa, in the province of Arauco, Biobío region; an event considered to be one of the worst attacks against this institution in living memory, and in response to which the government declared three days of mourning and the President held an emergency meeting in the early hours of the morning at the Government Palace.

According to initial reports, the victims were officers of the Public Order Police (COP) who had been patrolling the streets and, after losing contact with them, were found with gunshot wounds and burnt in the pick-up truck. According to current press reports, the events took place in two locations, the investigation is focused on Quilaco Bajo and Antiquina, and the search for persons of interest linked to organized crime in the area (drug trafficking, vehicle theft, and timber theft), and no arrests have yet been made in connection with the murders.

Yáñez and his rescue

About these murders, the Public Prosecutor’s Office gave in to pressure from the defense of the Director of the Carabineros, General Yáñez, who was due to be charged with human rights violations on 8 May. This process was postponed until 1 October.

This situation was openly sought by the right wing and more covertly by the executive. This postponement marks the systematic practice of the lack of equality before the law since no person without “power” can obtain a postponement of a formalization date in a judicial process that concerns him or her. This is a new precedent for the brazenness of the Chilean elite and its negligence in destroying the fundamental pillars of a constitutional state, such as the separation of powers and equality before the law.
This is in addition to the impunity of the cases of human rights violations that occurred in 2019, during the popular uprising.

All of this does nothing to heal the discredit of law enforcement institutions and deepens the rampant polarization and inequality in Chilean society, with unimaginable consequences for national coexistence shortly.

Urgency and legislative improvisation

Faced with these events, Congress moved quickly to make progress on security issues, where the right wing is trying to use these events to give the police a free hand, in an “express” manner.
On the one hand, the Constitutional Commission of the Upper House proposed and sent to the Chamber the new anti-terrorism law, since the current one has become ineffective.

It should be remembered that this law strongly mentioned acts of violence in the “southern macro zone” and the “Mapuche conflict”. In this regard, the professor and lawyer of the Catholic University of Chile, Sebastián Donoso, points out that “in general, I believe that labels such as ‘indigenous conflict’ or ‘Mapuche conflict’ only simplify the reality and do not allow us to appreciate the number and complexity of the variables that influence the serious situation that is being lived in the southern macro-zone”.

The lawyer Javier Couso, an expert in constitutional law and director of the Doctorate in Law at the University of Diego Portales, also called for “not legislating in the heat of the moment”, pointing out that there is no law, alluding to what he sees as the symbolic rather than practical role of the anti-terrorist law in preventing this type of act.

We hope, with skepticism, that those in Parliament will not forget that Chile has signed the INTER-AMERICAN CONVENTION AGAINST TERRORISM, with its clear article 15 on human rights, the first clause of which states: “The measures adopted by the States Parties by this Convention shall be carried out with full respect for the rule of law, human rights, and fundamental freedoms”. (The ratification was published in the Official Journal on 10 February 2005).

On the other hand, following the murder of the Carabineros officers, the Citizens’ Security and Constitutional Committees were convened in an extraordinary session to make progress on the bill that would establish rules for the use of force (Bulletin 15805).

It is worrying that the elements of the government proposal that failed were the principle of proportionality, part of the principles of rationality and accountability, and the rejection of the article that would have established the prohibition of torture and other cruel, inhuman, or degrading treatment or punishment among the rules for the use of force.

If the political discourse is aimed at achieving a climate of peace and non-violence in the country, why is there such an interest and urgency in legislating repressive measures and maintaining powers to exercise inhuman violence?

Towards a nonviolent society

Achieving a non-violent society means building an emotionally balanced society, in which the central value is the human being, and respect and esteem for him or her is the basis of relationships (treat others as you would like to be treated) and, consequently, active non-violence as a methodology of action to resolve conflicts.

Overcoming the degrading economic inequality, opening up opportunities for new generations without exclusions, overcoming privileges, and materializing a concrete, tangible commitment to a political direction that builds social rights in education, health and decent housing for the currently excluded majorities are relevant issues for overcoming the state of violence that our society suffers today. Injustices are the breeding ground for the normalization of violent social behavior.

For example, the state has chosen to manage the conflict in Araucanía by militarizing the region; has this improved the situation?

The children in the communities are still growing up with tanks, scared, and alert in their condition, they are not free, nobody is free there. How do you intend to put an end to the violence?
Violence is not only the act of beating, killing, abusing, kidnapping, war, or boycotting between countries.

Violence is also the general attack on a place where a social group lives, through unscrupulous pollution, excessive exploitation and enrichment of resources that belong to everyone, having corrupt politicians in decision-making positions who have lost sensitivity to social demands for rights, usurious banking and impunity for the crimes of the elite.

The change of paradigm and the importance of a new spiritual horizon is urgent, as is its translation into new ethics and tactics in political activity, which require and demand the direct participation of all citizens. To expect the changes to be made by the same people who brought us to this crisis is naive and suicidal.

“A new spiritual horizon is required. This new horizon, we believe, is being born in the world, while at the same time, all the structures are disintegrating…” (Silo Parque Manantiales 2010).

Collaborators: Ricardo Lisboa Henríquez; M. Angélica Alvear Montecinos; Sandra Arriola Oporto; Guillermo Garcés Parada and César Anguita Sanhueza. Public Opinion Commission