Jeannette Vega: Contacts between a minister and a radical Mapuche leader precipitate the first casualty in Boric’s Cabinet

The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, in a press appearance.
The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, in a press appearance.PRESIDENCY OF CHILE/MARCELO SEGURA (PRESIDENCE OF CHILE/MARCELO SEG)

The president of Chile, Gabriel Boric, announced this Thursday the departure of the Minister of Social Development, Jeannette Vega, after it was made public that he tried to communicate through an advisor with Héctor Llaitul, the leader of one of the main violent organizations. that operate in the Chilean Araucanía, the Arauco Malleco Coordinator (CAM). The undersecretary of the ministry, Paula Poblete, will take over as interim minister. The movement takes place 10 days before the plebiscite for a new Constitution in Chile and due to a scandal related to one of the most complex issues currently facing the South American country: violence in the region of La Araucanía, epicenter of the conflict over ancestral lands. of the Mapuche.

A reserved report from the Investigative Police (PDI), to which the news outlet had access ex ante, reveals that on May 11 Tania Santis, adviser to Minister Vega, contacted Llaitul by phone, responsible for dozens of attacks in the south of the country since 1997 and who was arrested this Wednesday for three crimes contemplated in the Security Law of the State. Santis transferred to the head of the CAM the minister’s intentions to “be able to have a conversation at this time” with him by phone, according to the transcript of the local media.

”The facts that we have learned make it appropriate to assert the political responsibility of the minister [Vega] and that is why I have accepted his resignation”, President Boric assured this afternoon from the northern region of Atacama, where he is on a tour.

The dialogue between the ministry and Llaitul took place on the same day that the site Werken News published an interview with the radical leader. Llaitul made a call there to “organize the armed resistance” after the government decided on a “limited” constitutional state of exception in the conflict zone. La Moneda did not sue then for the State Security Law. “Our government does not pursue ideas or statements,” Boric explained. However, the escalation of the threats prompted the Executive to extend the lawsuits filed by the Government of Sebastián Piñera against the head of the CAM at the end of July.

One of the most complex issues of the first six months of Boric’s government has been the escalation of violence in La Araucanía and surrounding areas. Just four days after assuming power, the entourage of the Minister of the Interior and Public Security, Izkia Siches, traveled to the area, where they were greeted with shots fired into the air, roadblocks and barricades. The leftist coalition arrived at La Moneda with the promise not to invoke the State Security Law to deal with the conflict and to demilitarize the area. But, among other measures, the Administration has resorted to mechanisms to deploy the military. “We realized that, unfortunately, we had to turn to them because of the levels of violence,” the president said last week in an interview on Chilevision.

In addition to the unexpected departure of Minister Vega, it is installed in the public debate that Boric will make his first Cabinet change after the plebiscite on September 4.

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