Mapuches: Piñera Modifies Law Untouched in Twenty Years

first_img In modifying an anti-terrorist law inherited from Augusto Pinochet and applied to Mapuches who were on a hunger strike, Chilean President Sebastián Piñera did what “we never managed to get from the center-left in twenty years,” Marco Enríquez Ominami affirmed in Paris on 10 November. “For twenty years, it was the center-left that applied this anti-terrorist law. In twenty years, we never managed to get a center-left president” to cease applying it, the Chilean congressional deputy maintained in a talk hosted by the Maison d’Amerique Latine in Paris. Enríquez Ominami affirmed that since he became a deputy in 2006, he had been calling on successive Concertación administrations not to apply this law, “but they told me that the only one who could do that was the president.” “And it was Piñera, after twenty years of the center-left, who announced the modification of the anti-terrorist law that was applied to the Mapuches,” on a hunger strike for almost three months, the thirty-six-year-old leader emphasized. The anti-terrorist law inherited from the dictatorship tripled the penalties imposed by ordinary legislation. Thirty-four Mapuches, most of them imprisoned on charges of burning farms in the context of their claim to their ancestral lands, carried out a hunger strike of almost three months seeking that this law, which put them at risk of sentences of up to one hundred years, not be applied to them. Piñera, who became president in March 2010, succeeding the Socialist Michele Bachelet, promoted the modification of the law, which was approved by the Chilean Congress on 30 September. “The resolution of the Mapuche issue was one of the things that Piñera did well, above all coming from where he does, from a reactionary right wing,” Marco Enríquez Ominami affirmed. The son of Miguel Enríquez, a prominent member of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR) assassinated by Pinochet’s dictatorship (1973-90), and raised in exile in France, Marco Enríquez Ominami abandoned Chile’s Socialist Party months before the 2009 presidential elections, in which he ran as an independent leftist candidate and obtained 20% of the votes. By Dialogo November 12, 2010last_img

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