Tuesday, September 9, 2014
Subway Bombing Shatters Calm in Chile
The rash of bombings sweeping Chile took a frightening turn after an explosive blew up in a subway station, leaving as many as 14 people hurt. The Sept. 8 blast was far more serious than earlier explosions because it caused many casualties, and it took place in the middle of a crowded area. The bomb was left inside a trash can in a shopping and dining area of a subway station in the upscale Las Condes neighborhood of Santiago. The government said it will apply the anti-terrorism law to investigate the bombing, which grants police special powers, such as holding suspects without formal charges. As they denounced the attack, officials also sought to reassure a public that now feels much less secure. The government also is worried that its image as a safe country, which has encouraged foreign investment and tourism, has taken a damaging blow. Chileans have another reason to feel less secure. Despite some 30 bombings this year, investigators have no suspects and few clues. Chile's intelligence community was stripped of most of its powers after the end of military rule, but now it seems inadequate to deal with terrorism. Police searching for the bombers are barred from using phone taps, infiltration and some other intelligence methods. Investigators are not even sure if multiple anarchist groups are involved, or if it's the same ones going by different names. Nearly 200 bombings or attempted bombings have occurred in Chile since 2005, yet only two suspects have ever been convicted. One of them was an unlucky bomber whose explosive blew up on him. If you happen to live in Santiago, there's reason to be worried about your police's effectiveness. Update: After some anarchist cells denied responsibility for the subway bombing, one group took responsibility on its website. A group called CCF said the first subway bombing was designed to occur at an hour when no persons would be injured. It added that it gave police advance warning of the Sept. 8 blast, and that it did not intend to harm anyone. But the warning, if true, came only 10 minutes before the explosion, which would not leave much time at all to evacuate the area.