Friday, August 29, 2014

Bombings Damaging Nerves, Chile's Reputation

Chile's government is worried its reputation as a safe country is being damaged by the recent wave of bombings in the Santiago metropolitan area. A number of bomb threats also is putting people on edge. The U.S., Canada U.K., Australia and Belgium have warned their citizens about the danger of terrorist bombs in Chile. That prompted Chile's top law enforcement official to try to calm foreigners' fears, telling reporters that Chile is a country where visitors don't need to be fearful, and that a massive hunt is on for the bombers. Interior Minister Rodrigo PeƱailillo cited Chile's relatively low homicide rate and a coordinated effort to identify suspects. A special prosecutor was appointed. Nearly 30 bombs or incendiary devices have detonated so far this year.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Chile's New Security Problem: A Wave of Bombings

Chile's security forces have a new problem on their hands. So far this year, 15 bombs have detonated in a terror campaign striking the metropolitan area. The Santiago subway was bombed last month, although the device went off after the final stop of the night. A subway worker spotted a suspicious backpack, and the explosive in it detonated before the bomb squad arrived. Investigators have linked the wave of bombings to anarchists avenging the conviction of three of their members and the arrest of two others in Spain. Pamphlets left at church bombing specifically mentioned the Spanish case. The blasts, police say, show that anarchist cells that were believed to be dormant are back in operation. Anarchists also took responsibility for a string of car fires in Santiago and Vina Del Mar. The bombings seem to have reawakened a long terror campaign that resulted in more than 140 explosions from 2006 to 2012 targeting banks, multinational companies and other establishments. Thankfully, most of the bombs then and now were relatively small and there were no mass casualties. But just like in the Mapuche conflict, police have been frustrated in finding the perpetrators and getting convictions. Sloppy crime-scene work and burdensome evidence rules are some of the problems vexing authorities.