Violent repression in the context of the pandemic in Chile

“The coronavirus is very happy that these people are acting the way they are”. Those were the words of the Intendent of the Metropolitan Region, Felipe Guevara, when he was consulted about the protests of the residents of the neighborhood of El Bosque due to lack of food and supplies. An act that has persisted since the social explosion in Chile until before the pandemic.

Today is the third day with total quarantine in the 38 communities of the Metropolitan Region, affecting 90% of its population. The disease has spread from the wealthiest sectors of the region to the most vulnerable areas, like El Bosque, where the residents took action with their own hands.

The mayor of El Bosque, Sadi Melo, in a conversation with Bienvenidos, said that “the basics are over for our people. We are in a situation of hunger, of lack of work, quite complex”. That’s why the neighbors in the sector came out to protest. And instead of having a solution from the central government, the police showed up at the site to suppress requests for food, water and supplies.

The Special Forces of the Carabineros arrived at the site and have used water cannons and tear gas to retrieve people who were asking for the basics of life.

The repression by the police was recorded on several videos by the neighbors. The action of the Carabineros not only generates a health problem for the injured people it left behind, but also does not solve the main problem of the citizenship of the affected neighborhood.

It’s not the only drama these neighbors are experiencing. A few hours earlier, the same mayor expressed his concern about another situation arising from the health crisis. “We have been notified by telephone by the Southern Health Service that PCR testing for #coronavirus in #ElBosque would be limited from 180 to only 40 daily, which means leaving users without a health response”.

The inequalities that have been seen during this pandemic, and which will surely get worse as quarantines are extended, are part of the reasons why the social explosion occurred last October. Situations we have reported in other articles in the section “That’s Experiment Called Chile“.

If you are interested in knowing more about Chile, I will be writing about the demonstrations and the internal conflicts that are taking place in the new section ‘That experiment called Chile‘.