Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Piñera and human rights

Curious turn of affairs with some military officers convicted of human rights abuses in Chile.  They initiated a hunger strike, which they just ended, or at least suspended while they had a few completos.  Meanwhile, they refer to themselves as "political prisoners."  My sense is that they have generated more publicity than sympathy.

But as El Mostrador points out, there is a unique aspect to the situation--they have admitted publicly that they are guilty.

Al comienzo de la proclama, señalan que son “miembros de las Fuerzas Armadas, de Orden y Seguridad, en adelante “los presos políticos militares, que cometimos delitos contra la seguridad de las personas (más conocidos por violaciones a los derechos humanos) en el período comprendido entre el 11 de septiembre de 1973 y el 11 de marzo de 1990″.
I assume they took this stance to facilitate asking for their sentences to be commuted.  Its symbolic value, though, is also important, as formal and public declarations of guilt are not common.

Also noteworthy is something I've written about before.  Before the election, Sebastián Piñera promised to limit prosecutions and make them go more quickly.  He has not fulfilled that promise, and so the main organization of retired officers is not happy.  Piñera walks a fine line, as he is not "right wing" in the conventional sense of the word, yet is also sensitive to his very conservative base of support.


leftside 7:49 PM  

Meanwhile, not a word about the hunger strike by 34 Mapuche (indigenous) prisoners - now on their 65th day.

Not to single out this blog, as the silence in the Western media (and in Chile) has been deafening. But I would think a Chile expert such as our host might have thought it worthy of mentioning a strike of such scale and duration? The use of Pinochet-era terroism legislation to charge these people should be seen as shameful.

It took the solidarity of 4 oppositin leftist legislators to get Pinera's attention - calling them "irresponsible" and forcibly removing them from the prison. However, that night he finally proposed some modification to the onerous anti-terrorism laws.

  © Blogger templates The Professional Template by 2008

Back to TOP