SANTIAGO – Government officials have urged parliament to approve reforms after a deadly shooting in Santiago’s Maipú district. President Sebastián Piñera insists the reforms are necessary to combat organized crime. Meanwhile, Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado said more profound reforms are needed, especially in relation to the gun laws.
In response to yet another deadly shootout in Santiago’s Maipú area, President Sebastián Piñera has urged parliament to approve his administration’s reform proposals, introduced in the aftermath of the Oct. 18 protests. He added that police need these reforms to properly combat the crime wave the country is suffering from.
Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado told a press conference that the problems are structural so deep reforms are needed. More police presence won’t solve the problem, he said. “We need to modify the legal bodies to better prosecute drug dealers… today we are unable to do as we would like to.”
Delgado also advocated to reform the gun laws, which date from 1977.
Reforms on Hold
Several reforms have stalled because they are deemed repressive and ignorant of international recommendations to protect human rights. One such reform is the recently revived police protections bill, which was criticized by the Human Rights Watch director Jose Miguel Vivanco as opening the door to lawlessness.
Other reforms include the modernization of the Investigations Police (PDI) and Carabineros and a new national intelligence agency.
Piñera said “what else has to happen for congress to hurry up and pass our security agenda that includes bills that have been years in congress?”
He added, “crime has experienced a mutation, no longer are there isolated criminals acting individually, what we are facing today is organized crime.”
PDI director Héctor Espinosa Valenzuela told the BBC, however, “Chile is not at the level of talking about cartels…we don’t have the same problems that other countries have where authorities and prosecutors are involved.”