Saturday, November 24, 2012
More Equipment Mobilized Against Mapuches
Secretary of Interior Andres Chadwick said police will get more equipment to fight extremist Mapuches, as the new minister strikes a get-tough tone on the conflict with the indigenous group. Chadwick did not specify the new equipment, although he hinted at electronic gear. Chadwick also announced Nov. 23 he would travel to the areas most affected by Mapuche violence to push the government's two-pronged strategy: Extremists will be met with the full force of the law, but officials will work with peaceful Mapuche groups on a redress of their grievances. The conflict flares up from time to time, with sporadic attacks that sometimes involve firearms. For example, earlier this month a bus with elderly men was ambushed and shot at in the early morning hours. Logging companies and ranchers are often targets; they are seen as the beneficiaries of lands taken from the Mapuches. Chadwick, who was elevated to the post after his predecessor was named the new Minister of Defense, is the cabinet member responsible for Chile's national police and internal security. For more background, a Chilean television show recently aired a documentary on the conflict.