translation tormentas de fogo

On June 26, 2018, Francisco Hermosilla, Mario Fuentes Melo and Valeria Echeverría decided again on the life of other people. The three miserable judges of the IV Oral Criminal Court of Valparaíso, at the top of their podium, fulfilled their role as gears of the juridical-prisonal system.

This time they have decided to issue a verdict condemning 6 comrades accused of participating in the May 21 riots in 2016, in which the municipal guard Eduardo Lara died asphyxiated in a nearby pharmacy, due to the smoke generated by the fire.

The nauseating judiciary considered the 6 comrades guilty for the following offenses:

Miguel Ángel Varela Veas: Author of the arson that resulted in death + possession of molotov bomb.

Felipe Ríos Henríquez: Author of arson resulting in death.

Constanza Gutiérrez Salinas: Co-author of arson resulting in death.

Hugo Barraza Araya: Co-author of arson resulting in death.

Nicolás Bayer Monnard: Co-author of arson resulting in death.

Rodrigo Araya Villalobos: Co-author of arson resulting in death.

The prosecutor in the case “May 21”, or prosecutor Cristián Andrade, who requested sentences of 15 to 25 years, celebrated that the court accepted his thesis: “There is a conformity in having recognized that the death of Eduardo Lara was product of the arson”

Let’s remember that all 6 comrades remained on the streets subjected to several measures (forum signatures, identification and, in some cases, house arrest), but at today’s hearing the prosecution requested their detention, which was rejected by the court.

The comrades Hugo, Constanza, Nicolás and Rodrigo Araya attended the audience, while comrades Miguel and Felipe refused to come, resulting in an arrest warrant against both.

The sentence, in which follows the years of the comrade’s condemnation, will be read on court on July 7 at 10:00 am, by now the defense may appeal the nullity of the judgment.

We observed again today an evident legal revenge exerted during a political process. No matter the disjointed images shown by the police, the lack of any hydrocarbon test or even ANI reports speculating about someone responsible. Today the judicial report states the 6 comrades direct relation in the riots of May 21, participation in the arson attack on a pharmacy following death by suffocation of a municipal worker locked up by his bosses, who were several floors above. There is a total confusion in order of maintaining the state’s on top of reason.

This sentence is an attack against the street struggle and its expressions overflowed in the demonstrations, trying to show up someone responsible to satisfy the wishes of revenge of the Valparaiso’s municipality. Today as yesterday neither silence nor passivity are tactics to face legal lynching.



“The 6 comrades are an active part of the social movement against extractivism in their respective territories, especially in the regional struggle against the mega colonizing project for the devastation of nature, known by its initials: IIRSA

In the context of the social protest carried by various organizations on May 21, 2016, while the annual public account was taking place in the national congress, thousands of people gathered to demonstrate their unsatisfaction with neoliberal public policies. In this scenario, there were several clashes with the police, where individuals and collectives attacked symbols of capitalism, consumption and exploitation. Among the affected buildings there is the arson against a pharmacy, located in a building whose upper floors housed municipal offices. Unfortunately, in this incident where the fire spread throughout the structure, a municipal worker died under questionable working conditions; he was inside the damaged property. The day ended without detention in relation to this specific fact

After 3 months of this tragic event, through various spectacles in the cities of the fourth and fifth region, in which during all time had the presence of a press team of channel 13, 6 comrades are detained. They rescheduled the court date and due to lack of evidence by the prosecution, the required preventive measure of pre-trial detention was not obtained. The investigation was then postponed to happen within 6 months; However, during the trial and without no new evidence, the precautionary measure for one of the accused persons was changed to house arrest.

The IIRSA megaproject was rejected by most of social organizations that inhabit the affected territories. It has become a common theme for various sectors and organizations to discuss, along with a wide range of groups, in which the 6 persecuted comrades participate, leading forums and other information activities to disseminate this problem. We denounce that these activities related to the defense of lands and territories have been constantly monitored by the police and the intelligence services: through recordings, identity control and other techniques of harassment. The Federal Public Prosecutor’s Office included in the investigation file and, among the alleged evidence, audiovisual material recorded in activities organized around this subject held before and after the event investigated. This situation evidences a political persecution which was previously articulated, that intends to criminalize and punish ideas and groups of friends and relatives. A persecution that seeks to stop and repress the articulation of the genuine and necessary protest against extractive projects, which attack nature and life itself. We also denounce it as a flawed process, full of irregularities and obviously influenced by political reasons.”


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