Chile: carabineros admit agent killed student protester

On Aug. 29 Chilean prosecutors ordered the detention of Sgt. Miguel Millacura of the carabineros militarized police for the shooting death of 16-year-old Manuel GutiĆ©rrez Reinoso in the early morning of Aug. 26 in the Villa Jaime Eyzaguirre neighborhood in Macul, a commune in Greater Santiago. Investigators found that Sgt. Millacura’s Uzi submachine gun fired the shot that killed GutiĆ©rrez, who had been walking with his brother to observe late-night protests following an Aug. 24-25 general strike. Millacura claimed he shot into the air.

The carabineros, who have been accused of brutally repressing student demonstrations over the past three months, initially dismissed witnesses’ accounts of the shooting. But once the ballistic evidence implicated Milllacura, the carabinero command discharged him and four other agents; several others went into retirement. The government of rightwing president SebastiĆ”n PiƱera asked for the resignation of carabinero general Sergio Gajardo, who had failed to carry out an internal investigation. The head of the militarized police, Gen. Eduardo Gordon, apologized to the GutiĆ©rrez family. There were calls for Gordon’s resignation. (EFE, Aug. 30; El PaĆ­s, Spain, Aug. 31, via Vanguardia, Mexico; La Tercera, Chile, Aug. 31)

Gen. Gordon’s resignation came on Sept. 2, after an accusation appeared in the media that he had altered an official report that implicated his son in an automobile accident; the general has also been accused of telephone spying. Gordon announced that he was “tired of such wickedness and such trashing of the institutions.” PiƱera’s government suffered this latest blow one day before the president was to sit down in talks with student leaders, who are demanding sweeping changes in Chile’s highly privatized education system. (La NaciĆ³n, Argentina, Sept. 3)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 4.

See our last post on Chile.