This article was originally written for socialistworld.net, the website of the Committee for a Workers’ International.
Freedom for Chilean soldier David Veloso.
On October 18, the Chilean people began a generalized social uprising, triggered by a rise in passenger transportation in Santiago de Chile and violent repression of secondary students demonstrating against the increase by massively evading payment. This was the drop that filled the patience of the Chilean people, after thirty years of abuse and neoliberal capitalism administered by the civil governments that succeeded the Pinochet military civic dictatorship. On October 19, President Sebastián Piñera, imposed the state of emergency in the city of Santiago, placed an army general in charge of the city, and a curfew was imposed. Piñera took to the streets the Armed Forces that joined the police in the repression of social protest for the first time since the end of the dictatorship. The measure was quickly also applied in most regions of the country.
Despite this, the demonstrations were growing in number and massiveness, 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 only in Santiago, to which we must add other regions of the country, with four requirements: remove the Armed Forces from the street, Piñera’s resignation, withdraw from Congress the discussion of all those laws against the people, and to convene a Constituent Assembly to achieve a new Constitution that replaces that of 1980 implemented under dictatorship and still in force.
On October 28, Sebastián Piñera was forced to lift the state of emergency and curfew, which had not allowed him to end the popular protest, despite the serious violations of Human Rights, the dead, missing and injured people. On the contrary, the state of emergency and the curfew revealed the inability of the government.
It was in that context that the 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 the young man who can be sentenced even to 10 years in military prison under military law, since then the young man is imprisoned.
Given this we have formed a committee against repression and consider David Veloso as a conscientious objector soldier. 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.
You can write to President Piñera through the website:
Copy your mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
Committee against repression in Chile
Santiago, Chile, November 2, 2019.