Tag Archives: Chile

Chile Blasts Bush America On Human Rights!

During the past eight years, the Bush State Department has issued an annual report on the state of human rights in the world. After reading the latest report, the government of Chile issued a response which noted, “there is no Guantanamo in Chile” and argued the United States was the last country on this planet to issue reports pointing the finger at violations of human rights while ignoring its own. Francisco Victal, a spokesperson for the government, said his own nation’s experiences with dictatorship had made it sensitive to questions of human rights and argued, “when a human being is tortured in any place in the world, the dignity of the rest of the six billion beings is also violated.”

The administration of Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld has brazenly boasted of torture that is acceptable and ignored the violations of human rights in their own country. A society which values social justice does not allow 50 million people to go without health insurance, a society which values human rights ensures those who lose jobs receive decent pay. Hopefully, the Obama government will truly be for human rights.

Mother Beats Child to Death Over Homework

Paulina Almonacid Rivera came home with her homework but anxiously awaiting the next day which marked her tenth birthday. Her mother, Erna Rivera Care, was furious with the girl for not reading the children’s book, “La Porota,” and in an infuriated rage she beat the girl to death. Police uncovered evidence the girl had been hit in the stomach, face, head and extremities, her arm was fractured and she was even hit with pieces of furniture. After the beating, the mother took the girl to a hospital where she claimed Paulina had fallen down a flight of stairs. Medical staff quickly ascertained the real cause of death and police soon arrived to arrest the mother for murder.

Police say Rivera had a prior history of abusing her children and actually Paulina had been living with relatives in order to escape her mother’s brutality. The girl’s stepfather had even brought the abuse to the attention of a Family Court but nothing was done to protect Paulina or the other children from an abusive mother.

Teachers acknowledged the girl had come to school with bruises and they had contacted the mother only to be put off with lame excuses about Paulina falling down. The real falling down is on the part of school authorities, the courts, and social services. Ironically, teachers said the little girl was a good student who did her work.

Delayed Justice Finally Arrives In Chile

Americans look back to the administration of Richard Nixon as a time when a president had to resign in disgrace over participation in a crime, but, the people of Chile look back in horror to the administration of Nixon which sanctioned a brutal military takeover of their nation. Thirty-five years ago, the thugs of General Pinochet overthrew the democratically elected government of President Allende, and began a reign of terror that killed thousands. Chilean Judge Juan Eduardo Fuentes, has reopened the case of famous Chilean songwriter, Victor Jara who was brutally murdered, along with others, in the Estadio Chile. Jara was an outstanding political activist songwriter who was beaten, tortured, and had his hands broken by soldiers, who spat at him saying, “Sing now if you can, you bastard.” A few weeks ago, Colonel Mario Manriquez, who supervised the murders in the stadium, was found guilty of murder, but not of pulling the trigger.

Jara was finally taken out to be shot, and his family and friends want the name of the triggerman, known only as “El Pincipe,” which Colonel Manriquez will be forced to reveal. Actually, despite the beatings, Jara did sing a verse from the song, “Venceremos” before going to his death. One of his songs, “Manifesto” has this line: “A song has meaning when it beats in the veins of a man who will die, singing truthfully his song.”

New York Times Hooks Wrong Chilean Salmon Source

The New York Times printed a story about the Chilean salmon industry which has created a furor in Chile since sources used by the American newspaper were of dubious validity. The newspaper admitted on Tuesday that a man identified as a top port official was, in fact, a security guard who claimed that bags in the Marine Harvest facility contained antibiotics, pigments, and hormones. The newspaper admitted: “Had The Times been aware of his actual position at the time, it would not have cited him as an authority on the contents of the bags, which were labeled medicated food. The article also should have noted that Marine Harvest and SalmonChile, an industry association, deny that they use hormones or that the pigments they use pose any risk to consumers.”

The article created a literal firestorm in Chile since it resulted in Safeway suspending purchases of salmon from Chile which impacted the entire industry. One is left with the impression that sometimes The New York Times prints some of the news that is not worthy of being printed.

Chilean Supreme Court Rules Against Lesbian Teacher

The Supreme Court of Chile ruled against a lesbian’s right to teach Catholic religion based classes in the school system. A 1983 Education Ministry decreee requires all relligon teachers to possess an aptitutde certificate issued by a religious authority. Sandra Parvez, who has taught religious classes for over 20 years, lost her fight to continue teaching Catholic religious classes after it was discovered that she was a lesbian. Chile’s Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation(MOVILH) denounced the decision “as one of the most violent ever made against a person’s dignity.” it regards the issue as to whether the Catholic Church has the right to decide who teaches classes in Chilean public schools.

Several Chilean legislators complained the Supreme Court was interfering in the right of secular institutions to make decisions without regard to what is thought or believed by the Catholic Church. MOVILH also pointed out single mothers and cohabiting partners are also being prevented from obtaining the certificate issued by the church.

Perhaps, it is time for Chile to take a different road and simply halt the teaching of religion in public schools.

Hugo Chavez Upsets XVII Ibero-American Summit Mteeting

Venezuelan president Hugo Chavez created a turmoil at the Ibero-American summit meeting in Chile by proposing drastic changes in Latin American borders. “Bolivia has a right to the sea. You know my position, and we all know the history. Bolivia had access to the sea, and that was just and legitimate.” Bolivia lost the territory in a war with Chile. Chavez also blasted the Summit because of its theme of “social cohesion” claiming that idea was a “very conservative, static concept.” He preferred that the Summit adopt at its theme, “social transformation.”Chilean officials were furious at their guest’s comments pointing out Chile had gotten rid of the dictator, Pinochet, and was in the process of creating a modern democratic society which was also addressing issues of poverty. Chavez was supported by Daniel Ortega of Nicaragua who went further in suggesting the Organization of American States should be replaced with a new organization of Latin American nations that would exclude the United States.

There were several raucous incidents during the meetings. Prime Minister Jose Luis Rodriguez Zaptero was delivering a speech when Chavez interrupted him and began denounced the Spanish leader for taking part in a coup that attempted to overthrow the Venezuelan government. After the fourth interruption, the King of
Spain, Juan Carlos lost his temper and told exclaimed to Chavez, “Why don’t you just shut up?” Midway through a speech by Daniel Ortega, the pro-Chavez supporter, the King stormed out of the meeting. During quieter moments of the meeting, President Bachelet of Chile met with Bolivian leader Evo Morales and she offered to discuss possibilities of finding ways for his nation to get access to the sea.

Chavez is quite testy when it comes to denouncing US imperialism, but appears much quieter when discussion shifts to his efforts to stifle free speech in Venezuela and to allow himself to be president forever.

Dams Or Environment– The Fight In Chile

Environmentalists in Chile are rallying to halt construction of massive new dams by an international conglomeration of American, Spanish, and Chilean corporations. Opponents fear the dams and accompanying transmission lines would be socially and environmentally devastating to pristine areas of southern Chile. Environmentalists believe Chile can attain its electricity needs through other means. Aquillino Olivares, a self described “campesino” who lives near the proposed site commented: “If we want to give Chile electricity, we have the northern desert where we can put up windmills and solar panels.” He noted people in his area use solar panels.

Chile, like many nations engaged in massive changes brought on by a rapidly developing economy require extensive energy sources. Ironically, as they economically expand there are coinciding environmental issues such as pollution of water sources and bringing changes to areas by constructing dams. China built the Three Gorges dam project and now has discovered it is causing devastating negative consequences to the local area include mud slides around the edges of the dam. It is estimated nearly 4 million people will have to be moved in the coming decade due to construction of these massive dams. Chilean environmentalists seek new ways of gaining access to energy sources without damage to existing physical conditions.

Women In Chile Unprotected Against Family Abuse

Chile’s Nation Women Service (SERNAM) confirmed it is attempting to persuade the country’s Family Tribunals to assume a more proactive role in protecting women from abusive husbands. In a recent case which attracted national attention, Katherine Casas was brutally murdered by her former husband after unsuccessfully trying to obtain assistance from the Family Court system.

Family Tribunals were established in 2005 to mediate family conflicts and essentially were geared to meet the needs of low-income Chileans who lack the means to get involved in legal actions. Casas had told the Family Court her husband told her he would take a knife and slit my throat, but all that was done was setting a court date for further discussion. Under current legislation, it is difficult to convict a sexual aggressor without physical evidence of a woman’s physical struggle against him.

It is clear the Chilean police, like many Latin American constabularies, pay scant attention to men who physically abuse their wives and girl friends. It is viewed as simply his right to display machismo and beat up on women. Until there are changes in these cultural attitudes, little will be done to safeguard the right and physical safety of Chilean women.