by Weekly News Update on the Americas

Chilean police arrested some 300 people, mostly students, who were protesting in Santiago on Nov. 17 against the annual Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit, scheduled for Nov. 19-21 in Chile, and the participation of US president George W. Bush. "No Bush, no APEC," the protesters chanted. Militarized Carabinero police attacked them with water cannons and tear gas. Those arrested included journalists and Rodrigo Soto, a member of the Chilean branch of Amnesty International; he was released without charges. Protesters said many arrests were arbitrary. "They took away my friend because he said cowards wear green," student Tamara White told a reporter; the Carabineros wear green uniforms. The demonstration was called by the Anti-APEC Coordinating Committee, headed by the Chilean Communist Party and the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR). (AFP, DPA, Reuters, Nov. 18)

The Chilean Social Forum (FSCH), a coalition of some 100 groups opposed to neoliberal economic policies, held a far larger demonstration on Nov. 19. Estimates ranged from 15,000 to 70,000 for participation in the event, a march along the Alameda, Santiago’s main avenue, to the Bustamante Park, where organizers held a cultural event. The march was peaceful, although there were isolated confrontations in the park and police agents used tear gas. The FSCH had scheduled workshops and meetings on Nov. 20-21 to discuss alternatives to neoliberalism. In preparation for the FSCH, the national police distributed a leaflet to schools and government offices urging citizens to report "suspicious attitudes" and "the places of anti-APEC meetings." "Chile may be at the end of the world, but for international terrorism, nothing is far enough away," the leaflet warned. (Servicio Informativo "Alai-amlatina" Nov. 19; NYT, Nov. 20)

The center-left Chilean government suddenly dropped plans for President Ricardo Lagos to host a large formal dinner for Bush the evening of Nov. 21 at the end of the APEC meeting. Instead, the two presidents were to have a small "working dinner" together. Lagos indignantly denied reports that the formal dinner was cancelled because of excessive security demands by US officials, who reportedly wanted to have all 250 guests searched with US metal detectors. (La Tercera, Chile, Nov. 21) There was an incident between US and Chilean security agents before dinner on Nov. 20. According to the New York Times, "a scrum of shoving Chilean security officers" blocked Bush’s lead Secret Service agent. Bush "turned around and walked up to the group, reached in to pull his agent free, and walked back into the [dining] hall, shaking his head." (NYT, Nov. 21)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 21


On Nov. 4, the criminal court in the Chilean city of Temuco acquitted eight members of the Arauco Malleco Collective, a Mapuche [indigenous] activist group, who had been accused of terrorist association for a series of arson attacks against the Forestal Mininco company and private estates in the Ninth Region. The three-judge panel ruled that the Public Ministry had failed to present sufficient proof of the defendants’ participation in the attacks. Mapuche activists Jorge Huaiquin, Oscar Higueras, Marcelo Quintrileo and Mauricio Contreras were freed upon acquittal; Aniceto Norin, Pascual Pichun, Jose Llanca and Patricia Troncoso–the one non-Mapuche in the group–were returned to jail, where they are serving sentences for convictions related to the Mapuche conflict.

Another eight defendants–seven Mapuche activists and one non-Mapuche supporter–have been charged in the same case but remain at large; in October they issued a communique saying they would go into hiding rather than face an unjust trial. (La Tercera, Santiago, Nov. 5)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Nov. 14

See also WW3 REPORT #95

Reprinted by WORLD WAR 3 REPORT, Dec. 10, 2004
Reprinting permissible with attribution