Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Why Chile's Military Finds Itself in a No-Win Situation as it Faces Protesters

It didn't take long for Chile's military to register its first casualties in the country's mass protests. In the city of Curicó, an Army soldier is being held in the shooting death of a 25-year-old protester. In La Serena, an Ecuadorian man was killed by gunfire that is said to have come from a military patrol. In Coquimbo another fatal shooting may have been caused by troops. In Talcahuano, a man was run over by a military truck. These and other incidents are making the military's role one that's increasingly difficult and controversial -- and one it didn't want. The armed forces reluctantly joined the efforts to pacify thousands of demonstrators. Asked about President Sebastian Piñera's description of events as a "war," Army chief Gen. Javier Iturriaga replied, "I am not at war with anyone." Indeed, the military finds itself in a tough spot, facing hostile crowds and unable to control the crisis the way it did in 2010. Back then, troops took to the streets to stop looting in the wake of a great earthquake. People welcomed soldiers. But this time, the armed forces are combatants. It didn't help that before this month's violent outbreak, several cases of corruption had tarnished the military's reputation. Gen. Iturriaga and other commanders may spend years dealing with consequences of the October revolt.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I don't understand why things always have to be one extreme or the other with people. Either the military are a bunch of thugs that push people around or they're a bunch of chumps too afraid of what others think of them to do their job. I know, as all Chileans know, there is a portion of the Chilean population that will always be discontents. Chileans are a barbaric people and there will always be hatred and spite in Chilean society. People who burn down the property of their fellow citizens and destroy the nation's infrastructure aren't protesters they're savages. The only thing you can do with a savage is to show them that you're not to be trifled with. The military in Chile could use passive physical force like grappling or human walls, anything other than letting these knuckle-draggers run amok. This is not protest, its brutality. As usual I'm ashamed of my heritage, what a bunch of losers.