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News > Chile

Chile Lawmakers Demand President Remove Interior Minister Chadwick Over Mapuche Killing

  • Activists hold a banner, which reads:

    Activists hold a banner, which reads: "Chadwick Out" in Santiago for the murder and botched investigation of Camilo Catrillanca killed by Carabineros. December 20, 2018

Published 8 January 2019

Opposition parties in Congress want President Piñera to immediately remove Interior Minister Chadwick from post for 'negligence', or they will.  

Chilean opposition legislators are formally requesting President Sebastian Piñera to remove his Interior Minister Andres Chadwick from his post “as soon as possible” for “government negligence.”

The Broad Front legislative coalition wrote to Piñera in a formal letter on Wednesday: “In virtue of the errors that imply an act of negligence on part of the government, particularly the Interior Minister Andres Chadwick, we demand that (President Piñera) request his resignation as soon as possible," read the collective statement.

Another Mapuche Leader Found Dead in Chile After Day of Unrest

The request for Chadwick to be removed from his cabinet position comes after the minister testified again in front of public prosecutors regarding the Carabinero (national police) killing of the 24-year-old Mapuche, Camilo Catrillanca who was gunned down while he was unarmed and driving a tractor in his home town of Ercilla on Nov. 14.

Chadwick revealed during a Monday testimony that he was told by Mauro Victoriano, former Carabinero director in Araucania, the region where the assassination took place, that Catrillanca was unarmed. However, in the wake of the murder, Chadwick made a public statement that the incident was a shootout and the young Mapuche had been armed.

Chile’s highest-ranking security official blamed the contradiction on “communication errors.” Chadwick said on Monday: "Unfortunately there was very bad communication and interference," he explained to prosecutors.

Chadwick and the Carabinero officers involved have changed their stories of the Nov. 14 murder over the past two months.

The police initially said they fired under attack by community members. They also declared that they were carrying no cameras at the time.

The two statements were later proven false. The Mapuche man had no weapon and the Carabineros in custody for the murder did have body cameras whose video revealed they were ordered to shoot at Catrillanca from federal helicopters flying overhead.

Mapuche, activists and legislators have been demanding Chadwick’s resignation since mid-November. Since then the minister has testified in front of prosecutors and Congress whose leftist parties, including the Communist Party, are demanding the president remove Chadwick or the legislator will do it themselves.  

"If (Piñera) does not listen to the demand the Communist Party of Chile will begin talks for a coalition to carry out a constitutional accusation," which would block Chadwick from holding public post in the future.

 Chile Carabineros Raid Mapuche Homes, Arrest 6

Victoriano gave a Jan. 7 testimony to prosecutors that he told Chadwick that Catrillanca was not carrying any weapons when he was shot.

Catrillanca was a youth activist that Carabineros had been tracking for a year prior to his murder. He was the grandson of Mapuche chief Juan Catrillanca.

President of Catrillanca’s community, Heraldo Muñoz, said that it is necessary that the political authorities respond to the new information. "We go from surprise to surprise, from falsehood to falsehood. Here the public faith has been eroded, beyond the terrible murder of Camilo Catrillanca," he said.

Fuad Chahín, president of the Christian Democracy in Congress echoed the sentiment. "The time has come to be told the whole truth about what happened."

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