Thursday, August 18, 2022

Chile Extends Security Measures as it Fights Violence on Two Fronts

 Chile's Senate approved, for a sixth consecutive time, an extension of special security measures in much of the south of the country, although forces are being removed from one section. The decree makes it possible for military and police forces deployed in the so-called Macrozona Sur to carry out a number of security missions in the violence-plagued region. A revolt by indigenous rebels and drug-gang activity still show no signs of pacification, and the military's commitment seems open ended. But there have been some results. The government reports a 41% drop in burned commercial trucks, a 74% drop in arson attacks and a 37% decline in firearms possession. In addition, 41 persons have been arrested for outstanding warrants and 120 for theft of lumber. President Gabriel Boric was against the special police powers in his presidential campaign. But even his administration realizes that regular police are outgunned and outmanned. Chile has a similar Macrozona in the north, where a wave of drug trafficking and other crimes has required the military to provide reinforcements. The violence in the north also shows no sign of abating, and the army, navy, marines and air force can expect to be on the streets for quite a while longer.  

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