Family of Slain Officer Meet with Mapuche Leaders

ARAUCANÍA – The brother and mother of a police officer who was killed in Araucanía have met with Mapuche leaders. Luis Balcázar was killed in an ambush after a raid that took place while the verdicts for the killers of Camilo Catrillanca were handed down. Balcázar family members accuse the government of exploiting the death of their loved one.

One officer of Chile’s investigations police (PDI) was killed in an ambush in La Araucanía region on Jan. 7 after a drug raid. The raid occurred while the verdicts on the killing of Camilo Catrillanca were handed down. The latter’s father and the officer’s brother and mother have now met to condemn the government’s repressive strategy and to find ways to demand justice.

Camilo Catrillanca was killed by police officers in 2018, who were then encouraged and pressured by their superiors to manipulate evidence and cover up the killing.

The recent meeting sends a strong signal to the government, which has exploited the officer’s death to justify yet more repression.

Shared Grieve

Immediately after news of Luis Balcázar’s death emerged, his brother, Ramón, suggested the raid’s real purpose “is unclear.”

Balcázar and his mother Carmen were invited by Mapuche leaders to Temucuicui, where their loved one died and where Camilo Catrillanca’s father, Marcelo, now met them.

Catrillanca said during the meeting “I hope the Chilean people can understand [the Mapuche] have not assassinated anyone.” Balcázar wrote on Twitter, “I’m accompanying my mom, Carmen Gloria Balcázar. After Luis, she is the main victim of the operation the government insists on justifying.”

The Raid and Aftermath

Luis Balcázar was killed during an ambush while leaving the location of a drug raid that came under fire due to allegations of being a pretext for repression. Camilo Catrillanca’s widow and his seven-year-old daughter were swept up in the raid just as seven former Carabineros were found guilty of his killing.

While the PDI claimed the kid was just being taken care of until she could be handed to a family member, pictures show that she was forced on the ground by two officers with a third one being ready to shoot.

And in leaked audios, officers are yelling at children to get on the ground.

Chile’s ombudswoman for children is pushing for further investigations, while the PDI doubts the audio’s authenticity but has promised to cooperate.

Read more:

Accused in Catrillanca Case Breaks Silence: “I Was Told to Lie”

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