The following statement was issued on 4 November by members of Socialismo Revolucionario, CWI in Chile, and the Committee against repression in Chile
Chile protests 2019, photo Carlos Figueroa/CC, photo Carlos Figueroa/CC

Chile protests 2019, photo Carlos Figueroa/CC, photo Carlos Figueroa/CC   (Click to enlarge: opens in new window)

On October 18, the Chilean people began a generalised social uprising, triggered by a rise in passenger transportation in the capital Santiago, and violent repression of secondary students demonstrating against the increase by massively evading payment.

This was the final straw for the Chilean people, after thirty years of abuse and neoliberal capitalism administered by the civil governments that succeeded the Pinochet military dictatorship.

On October 19, President Sebastián Piñera, imposed a state of emergency in the city of Santiago. An army general was placed in charge of the city, and a curfew imposed.

Army on the streets

For the first time since the end of the dictatorship, the armed forces were brought on to the streets to join the police in repressing social protest. This measure was also quickly applied in most regions of the country.

Despite this, the demonstrations were growing in number and size, and people bravely challenged the curfew and repression. Just one week after the popular protest broke out, there was the most massive demonstration in the history of Chile.

On October 25, two million protested in Santiago alone, as well as protests in other regions of the country. Protesters had four demands:

  • Removal of the armed forces from the street
  • Piñera’s resignation,
  • Withdrawal from Congress discussion of all laws against the people
  • Convening of a constituent assembly to achieve a new constitution that replaces that of 1980 implemented under the dictatorship and still in force

On October 28, Sebastián Piñera was forced to lift the state of emergency and curfew which had not brought an end to the popular protest, despite the serious violations of human rights, the dead, the missing and the injured. On the contrary, the state of emergency and the curfew revealed the inability of the government.

It was in that context that soldier David Veloso Codocedo (21), refused to embark from Antofagasta to Santiago to participate in the repression and threw his weapon to the ground.

The military prosecutor Cristián Ramírez, ordered the arrest of David who, under military law, could even be sentenced to 10 years in military prison. He has been imprisoned since his arrest.

Given this we have formed a committee against repression and consider David Veloso as a conscientious objector.

We request your support for the campaign demanding his freedom by sending letters to President Sebastián Piñera, demanding the immediate freedom of this brave young man.