Monday, October 6, 2014

Meanwhile in Araucania, More Bloodshed

While Chile's attention was focused on the bombings in the metropolitan area, the indigenous uprising in the south has suddenly become more violent. More than a dozen police officers were wounded in gun battles with masked gunmen the morning of Oct. 4. At least one of the gunmen was wounded, and is one of two people held in the attack. The shootings were part of a wave of violence in which masked gangs have blocked highways and set fire to commercial trucks. It's been a sharp escalation, and one that appears to have been fanned by the death of a Mapuche demonstrator run over by a tractor. Carabineros have sent in a new wave of reinforcements, this time with armored vehicles. The long conflict with Mapuche extremists shows no sign of abating, and it exposes an imbalance in the country's security system: While the military is well equipped and funded, the police lack sufficient resources to deal effectively with internal security problems.

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