PRESS RELEASE IMMEDIATE USE: May 12th 2016

On Friday May 13th Chilean Exiles & students will be making their anger at Chile’s President Michelle Bachelet known, as they gather outside 10 Downing Street and Mansion House at 8.30 and 10.00 am respectively.

The Chilean President is due to meet with Prime Minister David Cameron at No.10 and then will be at Mansion House to open the Chile Day event being held there.

Why the president has chosen to tour Europe while there is a desperate ecological & social crisis in Chile is a scandal’ said Sara De Witt, Chilean Exile and ex political prisoner.

‘Bachelet is in Europe to promote Chile as a modern democratic state which is risible. There are terrible social & economical problems at home which are directly related to the fact that the constitution & laws designed by Pinochet and his military junta are still in place. We still don’t know the whereabouts of over three thousand executed people, those who were tortured, now pensioners, have been offered pennies in compensation and torturers still roam free.

Today, Mapuche Indigenous people are being subjected to military force with serious allegations of illegal detentions and torture, all under Bachelet’s watch’.

When Pinochet seized power in 1973, the Junta created a new constitution and that has remained in place till the present day: a source of conflict and dismay in a country that is trying to come to terms with its violent past. Successive governments since the transition to democracy that began in 1990 have failed to remove the oppressive constitution that could have paved the way to prosecutions and renumeration for the hundreds of thousand of victims of political violence.

Instead, and to the disappointment of Chileans, Governments such as Aylwin and Bachelet have opted to work within the narrow framework of the laws that Pinochet engineered, giving little opportunity for a true democracy. The senate is also brimming with ex junta members and Pinochet sympathisers making political change an impossible feat.

Chile is in total disarray especially in the south, Chiloe, where there is a stand off between local fishing families and the government. Bachelet’s government has allowed private companies complete free reign and now they have poisoned the seas with contaminated salmon, destroying local wildlife and livelihoods. The President should be in Chile sorting this crisis out. While we are still in the clutches of the dictatorship and their cronies, The Chilean government should be held to account. It (Chile) is neither modern, nor a true democracy’ she added.

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:

Sara de Witt: 07580 818875 or Carole Concha Bell: 07794540433

Further Information about the state of affairs in Chile:

http://unpo.org/article/17174

 https://www.amnesty.org/en/countries/americas/chile/report-chile/

 https://www.hrw.org/world-report/2015/country-chapters/chile

http://www.mapuche-nation.org/downloads/undoc-02.pdf

http://mapuche-nation.org/english/news.htm