Columnas5 de diciembre de 2019
What is behind state violence in Chile?Por Rodrigo Espinoza
In mid-October, mass protests erupted in Chile‘s capital Santiago after the local authorities decided to increase the fare for its metro service.
On October 14, when about 200 public high school students, mainly women, swarmed a metro station in defiance of the fee increases and the state responded with violence, the situation finally reached boiling point. Within only two weeks, millions of people took to streets across the country.
The state responded with violence. President Sebastian Pinera announced a state of emergency and deployed the army, which unleashed a brutal campaign of repression on the protesters.
Chile used to be seen as an oasis of democratic stability in Latin America. But the harsh response to the protests and recent violence against indigenous people demonstrated that it has turned into a backsliding democracy, which is in a constant «state of exception» where laws and civil rights no longer apply, and imaginary security threats are used to justify state terror.
Behind Pinera’s violent repression there lies a culture of militarism that spans the whole region. At the core of this militarism is the failure of the Latin American states to provide a dignified life for their people and the need to retain control by suppressing dissent.