Boric has his first major confrontation: he orders the police to clear the routes blocked by truckers | International
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The Government of Gabriel Boric, which has had problems in defining an unrestricted line regarding public security on different fronts, has decided this Tuesday to give a sign of authority. After truckers cut off routes in different areas of Chile in protest against insecurity and the rise in fuel prices –from Iquique, in the north, to Puerto Montt, in the south–, La Moneda reported an ultimatum: at 4:00 p.m. local) this Tuesday the roads should be clear, because their blockade has led to kilometric traffic jams on the roads and the interruption of free movement. The threat, however, caused only partial withdrawals, so the Ministry of the Interior reported that it will apply the State Security Law to pursue those responsible and that it gave the order to the Carabineros to clear the routes that are still cut off.
This is the second day of partial road closures in eight parts of the country, after a call for a national stoppage of carriers. The Minister of the Interior, Izkia Siches, called for dialogue with the truck drivers. It was an intervention from La Moneda where the minister was consulted about a serious public order event that occurred this Monday in a municipality near Santiago, Talagante, where a supermarket was looted and 70 people were arrested for the events. The person in charge of order and security of the Government, however, replied that she had no information, which led to a wave of criticism. It has not been the only complex intervention of the minister in her almost seven weeks in office. In a statement before Congress, she made a false complaint about a failed repatriation of foreigners in the Government of Sebastián Piñera.
The State Security Law allows for greater penalties for attacks on State security, both internal and external, as well as for crimes that threaten public order. One of the first measures of the Boric Government when it took office on March 11 was to withdraw the complaints that the Piñera Administration had filed against 139 people, within the framework of the revolts of October 2019 and subsequent months. In Araucanía, meanwhile, an area of the country where the conflict between the Mapuche and the State has only increased since the late 1990s, the current government opted not to sue when Minister Siches was the victim of an attack, in her first hours in The charge. The Administration has opted for demilitarization and dialogue, but the strategy has not yet borne fruit, in a conflict over land that has become more complex due to the appearance of crimes such as drug trafficking or wood theft. On Friday, in the town of Ercilla, a 35-year-old truck driver was attacked with weapons of war and remains hospitalized in serious condition with risk of death.
The sign of authority of the Boric government, at which a man threw a stone last week on his tour of the north of the country, occurs precisely when the president has a significant drop in his approval, according to different polls. His popularity fell from 50% to 36% in less than two months, according to the pollster Cadem, which measures it week by week. Among other factors, it has been affected by the lack of control of public order that is observed both in Santiago, Araucanía, and in the north, where Chile is facing the second major problem: the migration crisis. In February, in fact, a 25-year-old truck driver was killed in Antofagasta, when he was thrown from a height of almost 10 meters by three men.
After his death at the hands of three Venezuelan immigrants who had entered the country irregularly and were prosecuted for aggravated homicide, one of the toughest-profile groups of truckers was born, the Drivers and Small Truck Owners of Chile. This Tuesday night, after the Government’s announcement to invoke the State Security Law, this group announced that they will maintain their actions, despite La Moneda’s announcement.
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