People and Organizations From More Than 60 Countries Condemn Political Violence and Human Rights Violations in Chile

Oct 30, 2019
11:25 AM

People gather during an anti-government protest in Santiago, Chile, Friday, Oct. 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)

EDITOR’S NOTE: Earlier this week, Latino Rebels received the following statement from organizers who generated an online petition about the situation in Chile. After verifying the thousands of signatures submitted online, we have decided to publish the full statement here, along with an English version of the petition.

On October 23, a petition to show solidarity with the Chilean people began circulating on social media in six different languages, including Mapuzungun. This initiative materialized in the context of protests that riveted Chile for over a week, intensifying after the government deployed military troops onto the streets and declared a state of war. On Friday, October 26, the demonstrations culminated in “The largest protest in Chile,” which, in downtown Santiago alone gathered over a million people who peaceful expressed their discontent with Sebastián Piñera’s government and Chile’s profound social inequality.

In just 72 hours after the petition was made public on October 23, 5,525 individuals from over 60 countries and territories signed in support of its cause. Adherents include renowned intellectuals and human right advocates such as Eduardo Jozami, Judith Butler, Toni Negri, Étienne Balibar, Silvia Federici, Susan Buckmorss, Horacio González, and Dora Barrancos. Likewise, it is important to highlight the support of important feminist associations such as “NiUnaMenos Argentina” and organizations such as Amnesty International. It is this sense of plurality that strengthens the petition, which also includes the signatures of important academics from more than 40 universities around the world.

The diversity of adherents shows significant political support of the Chilean people’s courageous struggle. As the petition states, “This is a message of concern for life, because at this very moment Chilean police (Carabineros de Chile) and the army are torturing, engaging in sexual and political violence, disappearing, and assassinating people all over the country.”

This declaration emphasizes the impact of state violence in a “population that is tired of suffering the extreme burden of the neoliberal model that has dismantled social rights.” It also expresses that, although the movement was triggered by student protests to evade public transportation fare hikes, the demonstrations quickly evolved into larger social demands that question the entire political and economic model.

The declaration emphatically rejects the Chilean government’s use of National Security Laws and Martial Law, and, in the light of local media censorship, calls on international media and human rights organizations to be present in Chile now. After the events that took place in Ecuador just a few weeks ago, the petition represents a dynamic and intense international solidarity effort.

The declaration ends by affirming that neither social nor political dialogue is possible with soldiers in the streets. In this sense, it subscribes to the public backlash demanding President Piñera’s resignation and fully supports the call for a Constituent Assembly.

The full document can be found here. The following text is the English version of the document:

International Community Against the Militarization of Chile

We, the undersigned individuals and organizations from various cities around the world, demand the immediate demilitarization of Chile, and the resignation of Sebastian Piñera’s government in light of its total disinterest in offering a democratic, dignified and just solution to the demands of the Chilean people. The International Community declares that the government’s abandonment of its political and democratic responsibilities, and its initiation of a military campaign which threatens the human rights of an entire population, is unacceptable. The people of Chile have had enough of the violent oppression exerted by the neoliberal model that has dismantled their social rights.

We express our solidarity towards the peoples’ enlightened rebellion, who have risen against the political and economic regime that harms the country’s working class in myriad ways: the privatized APF social security system, the rising cost of public services including water and electricity, a harsh immigration law, the approval of TPP11, the sustained predation by extractivism, and the intensification of violence against women and indigenous peoples.

This is a message of concern for human lives. At this very this moment, Chile’s Police Force and Armed Forces are torturing, applying political and sexual violence and killing people at a nation-wide level. Official mass media are not broadcasting these events, and only alternative and international media, combined with widespread documentation by average citizens, are shouldering the responsibility of breaking the media siege to inform people of what is really going on.

We vigorously reject the application of the State’s Homeland Security Act and the declaration of a State of Emergency, both of which consider protesting Chilean citizens as terrorists. We urgently call upon all international media and international human rights organizations to immediately make themselves present in Chile.

¡Neither social nor political dialogue is possible while the military remains in the streets!