Chile: Day of the young combatant. Their memory and ours

Every March 29 we commemorate the Day of the Young Combatant, a day of struggle in which the cowardly executions of March 29, 1985 carried out by a patrol of carabineros to the brothers Eduardo and Rafael Vergara Toledo, in the hands of the sub-lieutenant Alex Amber Hinojosa at the head of an operation in which participated the officers Marcelo Muñoz Cifuentes, Nelson Toledo Puentes and Jorge Marín Jiménez is remembered. It is worth mentioning that there was no conviction by the judiciary until 2008, needless to say that late justice implies impunity, and soon after they were all released on bail.

By Camilo Parada Ortiz, Movimiento Anticapitalista (Anticapitalist Movement)

That same day young Paulina Aguirre Tobar was executed by agents of the CNI when she was returning to her home in the Arrayan sector. The confessed perpetrators were also all released, both brothers Rafael and Eduardo Vergara Toledo, as Paulina Aguirre Tobar were militants of the Revolutionary Left Movement (MIR).

On the same fateful morning of March 29, 1985, the teacher and leader of the Chilean Educators’ Union Association (Asociación Gremial de Educadores de Chile), Manuel Guerrero Ceballos and my father, sociologist, researcher and archivist of the Vicariate of Solidarity, José Manuel Parada Maluenda, who had just left his daughter Javiera at the school gates, both Communist Party militants, were kidnapped by carabineros in an operation that included traffic blockades and a helicopter at the entrance of the Latin American School of Integration in the Providencia district. During the operation, Professor Leopoldo Muñoz, known to the Latino community as “Tío Leo”, tried to prevent the kidnapping and was shot, leaving him in critical condition.

One day earlier, on March 28, 1985, plainclothes agents kidnapped graphic designer Santiago Nattino Allende in the vicinity of his home, Santiago was also a Communist Party militant. On March 30, the bodies of Manuel Guerrero Ceballos, José Manuel Parada Maluenda and Santiago Nattino Allende were found with their throats slit in front of the El Retiro farm, behind the Santiago International Airport. The three bodies showed clear signs of torture. The only civilian involved in the brutal murder, Miguel Estay Reyno, better known as “El Fanta”, a former militant of the Communist Party, traitor who went over to the pro-coup side and was responsible for several murders, died of COVID in 2021 according to Gendarmerie data.

Summarizing, State agents executed six leftist militants, with the common denominator of impunity. Impunity that extends over all fronts 38 years after these crimes that mark the Day of the Young Combatant, which specifically commemorates the young militants of the MIR, but that year after year adds varied exercises of memory throughout the territories, with days of agitation in the towns, acts, vigils, etc.., coinciding with the execution also of the three militants of the Communist Party.

Eduardo and Rafael Vergara Toledo, Paulina Aguirre Tobar

It should be noted that this exercise of memory does not crystallize in the past, on the contrary, it creates bridges with the present and the current reality of the class struggle, since it is established as a date of combat of the anti-capitalist and revolutionary militancy, that which does not make pacts neither yesterday nor today, 50 years after the civil, economic and military coup d’état with the violators of human rights, dictatorship and democracy, dissociating itself from the 30 years of transition where a neoliberal model of plundering, looting, extractivism, exploitation and impunity to the measure of capital is deepened and perfected.

Today, 38 years after these terrifying crimes against humanity, systemic repression continues to be deployed against social protest, against the Mapuche people, the working class, the youth, women and migrants. The repressive apparatuses are guided by the same logic of armed guardians of the interests of the bourgeoisie, of the powerful, who need their armed guard to continue usurping the wealth and the governments of turns only deepen the so-called security agenda as a disguise for the repressive agenda.

During Gabriel Boric’s presidential campaign, one of the programmatic axes of the government of Apruebo Dignidad and Chile Digno was the deep reform of the carabineros, even talking about refoundation, today these promises seem to have been swept away under the reactionary tendencies and under the pretext of the pressure of the “agenda” and the public opinion managed by the monopoly of the big media, in the hands of the right wing. The focus is placed on the unrestricted support to the institutionality that exercised the systematic violation of human rights three years ago in full rebellion, the same institution that inherited its structure from the dictatorship, thus taking advantage of the slightest fact to continue deepening the repressive logic and militarization of the territories, for example with the regrettable use of the recent murder of carabineros sergeant Rita Olivares during the pursuit of a robbery that is used in a rough way for the lowest populism in security matters, and thus to justify the deployment of the right-wing agenda led by Boric’s government: greater endowment, elements and budgets of weapons and vehicles to carabineros for the militarization of borders and Wallmapu, some of them purchased from the genocidal State of Israel, unrestricted support is maintained today to the General Directos de Carabineros, Ricardo Yáñez, along with other senior commanders, investigated by prosecutor Chong for their responsibility in the systematic violations of human rights during the social outbreak, while dozens of Mapuche fighters have been murdered and imprisoned during all these years of democracy and the political imprisonment of the rebellion continues. 38 years after the commemoration of the assassinations of March 29, 1985 and 50 years after the civic-military coup, the right wing and the government are trying to move forward with an Easy Trigger Law, it is essential to strongly oppose this anti-popular initiative.

José Manuel Parada, Santiago Nattino and Manuel Guerrero

Security is obviously a tangible and real issue from which revolutionary militancy cannot turn its gaze away, it concerns mainly the working class, but it is at the antipodes of the repressive logics that the so-called center-left government wants to impose, even more so with the “improvement” of the institutions inherited from the dictatorship, which have never carried out a real restructuring work, despite the accumulation of evidence in their repeated actions of human rights violations inscribed at this point in their own DNA. That is one of the reasons why, from the Anticapitalist Movement we are convinced that the way forward is to dismantle and dissolve all the institutions that violate human rights to create in the most democratic way possible a new institutionality that focuses on the participation of the people to elect. This is a possible path if the current institutional framework is dissolved, opening all past and present archives and judging and imprisoning human rights violators. We say that security is especially important for the working class, starting with economic, labor, social, health, educational, ecological, care, etc. security. This security is invariably denied to us by a system of exploitation that makes those who really produce the wealth, that is, the workers, pay for their own crisis.

Our security agenda goes through the construction of an anti-capitalist alternative that is certainly connected with the reality of the social majorities, so as not to give in to the extreme right, without being servants of the neoliberal programmatic agenda, as have been the various center-left governments, of patent collaboration with the big ecocidal and exploitative business, whether the former Concertación or the government of Apruebo Dignidad, ranging from the Communist Party to sectors of the PPD, through the Liberals and Christian Democracy. The most evident action of this policy emanating from these sectors has been the transversal pacts of the parliamentary political arc that has governed the country, the Peace Accord during the rebellion guaranteed borders to the frustrated constitutional change and in turn sealed the impunity of human rights violations. Nowadays they reissue this logic and deepen their anti-popular reaction with the Agreement for Chile that tries to “relegitimize” the 30 years regime with a new anti-democratic constitution, agreed so that nothing changes and to reposition the worst of the Pinochet right wing like the UDI that heads the process Hernán Larraín, friend of the Nazi and pedophile Paul Schäfer, collaborator of the dictatorship with the enclave of Colonia Dignidad where torture and execution took place under Pinochet’s mandate. Opposing this fraud is of key importance, manifesting the null on the ballot, but also organizing and mobilizing so that the same as always do not continue governing and agreeing for the benefit of the 1%, a real security agenda goes through an active campaign against the constitutional farce that is the expression of insecurity in all matters against the majorities that live from our work.

These are the reasons why Young Combatant’s Day and our commitment to human rights is focused on the present, marked by an active memory and the dispute of the emptied memory that they want to impose on us. Human rights are here and now: the right to be able to make ends meet and enjoy quality free time for each person to develop freely; to have a table with healthy food in every home in the country; the right to decent wages for all and not the poverty wages imposed on us by those at the top to ensure their profits based on greed; the right to real social assistance; to a roof over our heads without the usury of real estate speculation; retirement as a right and not as a business of the AFP; the right to a secular, quality, non-sexist, plurinational public education that respects our diversities; the right to public and universal health care; the right to free abortion, so that pregnant people do not have to justify grounds to access it; the right to access and free exercise of culture; the right to the sovereignty of common goods, at the service of real needs and ecological balance and not the indiscriminate sale of commodities through extractive exploitation; the right to move and migrate freely; the right to democratic union organizations of the workers, against all union bureaucracy; enough of impunity at all levels, jail for genocide, torturers, those who shoot against the people yesterday and today; unprocessing and freedom for fighters; dissolution of all repressive apparatus; for a democratic justice system that is elected by popular vote with the possibility of recall, without corrupt prosecutors and conflict of interest; the right to manage our destiny without ties to imperialism with free trade agreements that restrict our food, economic and ecological sovereignty; the right to free self-determination of peoples; the right to a free sexuality and a depatriarchalized society.

These rights and other fundamental rights have been systematically denied to us since the dictatorship until today, both by the right-wing coup as well as by the center-left and self-styled reformist governments that raise the banners of human rights, but continue to carry out the repressive agenda at all levels of the capitalists. In order to be able to enjoy all those rights and pay homage from the present to the fighters assassinated by the dictatorship, but also to those who have fallen for this and call it democracy when it wasn’t, we have to work at national and international level for the revolutionary regroupment of the anti-capitalists, in a generous and methodical way, to fight to rebuild a left that struggles, which has been so beaten by repression, a left without sectarianism or opportunism, that puts as one of its main goals the synthesis of the multiple experiences of democratic anti-capitalism, a revolutionary left with ecological and feminist consciousness that fights the notion that “it can’t be done”, skepticism, “lesser-evils” and the reformist possibilisms that reedit capital. It is the capitalist system and its defenders on both sides who violate human rights today, who apply the policies of oblivion, who add us in the deepest insecurity. We walk this path internationally together with dozens of countries of the 5 continents with our world organization, the International Socialist League, and in our country with the Anti-Capitalist Movement, we invite you to join us to transform the world from the base, this is our tribute to the past and the present fighters.