Hundreds of soldiers deployed in southern Chile

ARAUCO – The state of exception in the so-called southern macrozone will last another week and a half. It was announced in response to a truckers’ strike, protesting a deficient response by the state to repeated attacks. Reactions to the measure differ starkly.

Over 900 soldiers, 10 armored vehicles, five special military vehicles, and three military helicopters  have arrived in the so-called southern macrozone in La Araucanía and Biobío regions. The deployment is part of the state of exception the government imposed on Oct. 12. Soldiers will assist the police with surveillance, transport, and logistics.

The area is contested territory, where indigenous guerrillas, private militias, and corporate interests vie for influence. Truckers are repeatedly targeted and complain about a weak state response. They erected blockades to demand firm measures.

Read more:

Government declares state of emergency in south amid truckers’ protest

Chile’s human rights institute (INDH) condemned the state of exception. “It represents a failure of the Chilean state to allow armed forces to carry out functions meant for Carabineros [police] and the Investigations Police (PDI).”

Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado has discussed the situation with counter admiral Jorge Parga and general Lionel Curti, respectively the commanders-in-chief for Bíobío region and La Araucanía. Local media quoted Delgado as saying that “there are groups that opted for the armed route, through organized crime, trafficking drugs, robbing and through the burning of public and private places.” The state of exception is expected to end Oct. 27.

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