Sunday, June 22, 2014

Chile Ranks High in Peacefulness, Relatively Speaking

The latest edition of the Global Peace Index puts Chile as the second most peaceful nation in South America and 30th in the world. Only Uruguay scored better in the continent. The results might well reflect the overall security situation in Chile, at least compared with the rebel wars in Colombia and Peru. But Chile is a far less peaceful place for Santiago residents who have endured more than their fair share of violent street protests, and for those in the Araucania region, where Mapuche extremists continue a rebellion to reclaim ancestral lands. This month, a landowner was shot to death and homes were set on fire in Araucania. A house linked to a Mapuche leader was set ablaze, indicating that activists are being targeted, too. The national police and the government seems helpless to curb the violence, even after reinforcing the Carabineros. Although crime is a pervasive problem, the street protests and the Mapuche conflict are the most pesky security problems in the country, and neither seems likely to abate anytime soon.

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