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09/10/2010 | Chile's Mapuches- Trying violence: A change in the terrorism law

The Economist Staff

AS A presidential candidate in 2009, Sebastián Piñera called Mapuche Indian activists accused of burning farms and lorries “criminals”. He criticised the president, Michelle Bachelet, for not using the country’s harsh terrorism law to quell their protests for control of their ancestral land. Ms Bachelet later had them charged with terrorism. But on October 1st, Mr Piñera, her successor, got the charges withdrawn.

 

The Mapuches forced him into this about-face by launching a hunger strike in July, which grew to include 38 prisoners. They wanted a change in the terrorism law, which dates from Chile’s military dictatorship. Although later amended, it remains controversial. Since 1990 it has been used mainly against Mapuche activists. In 2007 the UN Human Rights Committee said its procedural guarantees should be strengthened. The hunger strikers also wanted to end military courts’ jurisdiction over civilians, so that Mapuches who attacked police could not be tried twice for the same incident. Mr Piñera supports this.

Few Chileans back the Mapuches, and Mr Piñera’s conservative allies in Congress had blocked previous efforts to reform the terrorism law. But the president wants to avoid the bad foreign press that followed the deaths of hunger-strikers in Cuba and Venezuela this year.

On September 30th Congress changed the law so that a presumption of terrorist intentions no longer trumps the presumption of innocence. Defence lawyers will be able to question protected witnesses. The penalties for arson, a common Mapuche practice, will be reduced. Yet the conflict is not over: ten activists are still refusing food.

The Economist (Reino Unido)

 


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01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
01/09/2008|
22/08/2008|
22/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
17/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
16/08/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
28/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
19/07/2008|
24/05/2008|
24/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
03/05/2008|
29/04/2008|
11/02/2008|
05/01/2008|
09/12/2007|
18/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
10/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/11/2007|
06/09/2007|
26/08/2007|
25/08/2007|
11/07/2007|
16/06/2007|
16/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
10/06/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
19/05/2007|
24/04/2007|
24/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
14/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
05/04/2007|
28/02/2007|
28/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
05/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
04/02/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
29/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
11/01/2007|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
27/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
20/12/2006|
17/11/2006|
30/09/2006|
28/07/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
12/04/2006|
06/03/2006|
21/02/2006|
17/02/2006|
31/01/2006|
10/01/2006|
28/12/2005|
31/10/2005|
26/09/2005|
29/08/2005|
11/08/2005|
08/08/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
24/06/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|
03/04/2005|

ver + notas
 
Center for the Study of the Presidency
Freedom House