SANTIAGO – The death of Camilo Catrillanca, a Mapuche man who died during a shootout between armed men and Carabineros in the commune of Ercilla, will be treated as an accident. Carabineros insist that it remains unclear whether the 24-year-old man was involved in the shooting or not. “The real affected are the teachers who had their cars stolen”.
The death of a Mapuche man during a shootout with the Jungle Commando has caused politicians from the Chilean opposition to express their concerns about the government’s strategy. The Jungle Commando is an elite force of the Chilean Carabineros trained to fight “terrorism” in the southern regions.
Supported by the Anti-Terrorism Law, the Carabineros have freedom to arrest whoever they suspect of “terrorism” and are free to use all the resources they have at their disposal. The death of Camilo Catrillanca is seen as an accident.
Carabineros: “This has nothing to do with his background”
Hermes Soto, head of the Carabineros de Chile, has said in a reaction on the death of Camilo Catrillanca, that it remains unclear whether the bullet was fired by a member the Jungle Commando. “We are sorry that someone died during the shootout. But this has nothing to do with his background”.
Soto added that as of this moment it remains unclear whether Catrillanca was involved in the robbery of the vehicles or just someone who was at the wrong place at the wrong time. Until further investigation, the death of Catrillanca will be treated as an accident.
The intendant of the Araucanía region, Luis Mayol, said that the “real affected are the teachers who had their cars stolen”. He claimed that the Mapuche man had earlier been arrested for robbery.
Araucanía mayor: “All government statements are false”
The mayor of the nearby commune of Reinaico, Juan Carlos Reinao, said in an interview with CNN Chile that the statements of the government have been false. “The Jungle Commando has been trained in Colombia, in a region where there are kidnappings, guerrillas and cartels”.
“They have been trained in a country where the internal conflicts can´t be compared with any other Latin-American country. If we analyze the last 20 years, we see that it is mostly the Mapuche people who have suffered losses”.
Declaración pública del Frente Amplio, ante los graves hechos de violencia de esta tarde, en que resultó muerto el comunero mapuche Camilo Catrillanca. Exigimos que el @GobiernodeChile asuma su responsabilidad y desarticule el Comando Jungla. pic.twitter.com/eiAjmw0LQK
— Frente Amplio Chile (@elfrente_amplio) November 15, 2018
Frente Amplio rejects “systematic militarization of the region”
Parliamentarians of the Communist Party and leftist Frente Amplio (FA) have demanded the government to withdraw the Jungle Commando from the region. “This contradicts with the message of dialogue and peace that the government has publicly spoken”, the joint statement read.
In an open letter to the family, Frente Amplio rejects the “systematic militarization of the region” and demands “the immediate withdrawal of the Jungle Commando to prevent violence in the region to escalate”. They also called upon Minister of Internal Affairs Andrés Chadwick to replace those responsible.
“It is time that the government admits the failure of repressive policies. They have tried finding solutions in violence, instead of understanding the diversity of the peoples that live on our lands”.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.