Thursday, January 26, 2023

Chile approves extension of state of emergency in the south

SANTIAGO ( Associated Press) – Chile’s Congress on Wednesday renewed a state of emergency for the 14th time for two regions in the country’s south, a measure that allows the army to be deployed to control highways in that region, Where arson attacks are common. often.

With a 35-8 vote and three abstentions, the Senate renewed the extension of the state of emergency in the so-called Southern Macrozone, which includes strips of the Araucania and Biobio regions. The Chamber of Deputies had earlier voted with its lowest approval since the measure was implemented, 77–36 with 25 abstentions.

The state of emergency lasts only 15 days and Gabriel Borić’s government has implemented it uninterrupted since 16 May, for the sixteenth time. In the first two instances, congressional approval is not required.

Several legislators requested more stringent action from the government in the wake of frequent acts of violence, and requested special protection for the agricultural sector due to harvest periods and tourism initiatives, and national parks, which have also been the target of attacks in recent days. Used to be. ,

For his part, Minister of the Interior Carolina Toha defended the government’s position, arguing that the measure had resulted in a 42% reduction in violent acts, but that it should be maintained given the persistence of acts of violence. needed.

For opponents, including some sectors of the ruling party, the measure has “made little progress” and they rejected its application.

Gangs of timber thieves and drug traffickers are active in both areas. Police announced on Wednesday the arrest of a Mapuche leader from Temukuicui, a controversial commune in the region, and three forestry businessmen accused of participating in timber theft.

The state of exception was decreed in the entire region of La Araucania, 600 km south of the Chilean capital, and the two provinces of Biobio, where there is a conflict with minority areas of the Mapuche ethnic group who demand the return of ancestral territories by force. … Land restoration has been largely done through peaceful means.

Attacks in the so-called southern macrozone are mainly directed against the machinery of forestry companies operating in areas that until the 19th century belonged to the Mapuches and were violently confiscated from them by the Chilean state.

Before coming to power, Boric favored talks with the Mapuches to resolve the conflict, but an increase in attacks forced him to resort to a state of emergency, which he extended as deputy (2018–2022). protested while serving his second term as ,

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