Santiago, $hile: Solidarity goes beyond the walls


Since September 27th, in the 2H north wing of the High Security Prison (C.A.S.) of Santiago, Chile, prisoners have been on strike to protest against what they consider the humiliating and degrading treatment of excessive body searches on prisoners and visiting relatives.

The Gendarmerie (prison guards in Chile), under the pretext of security, insist on violating the dignity of people, by trying to undress women, men and minors. This is a situation that has become something quite normal but is by no means acceptable.

As a result of this abusive practice and the inexistent will of stopping it, 22 prisoners have decided to start a liquid hunger strike last Wednesday, October 17th,  with the aim of publicly denouncing this situation and until there is a definite suspension of it.

The Gendarmerie, as a prison institution, has historically maintained several methods of punishment and isolation, turning the prisons of this country into places where death is routine and impunity for the human guards who work there is implicit.

Prisons are the revenge of this indolent society, that punishes those who have had to commit a crime due to the unequal conditions of existence. It is not by chance that almost 98% of the imprisoned people in Chile have a working class origin.

We currently know that, in Puerto Montt, Valdivia, Valparaíso and Arika aberrant practices of torture are carried out and there is barely no knowledge of it outside prison walls.

We call out for solidarity with the hunger striking prisoners, for denouncing both abuse and torture, and the human guards who enforce this regime. We also call for solid steps to be taken to move forward clearly in order to break with the impunity of Gendarmes, judges and policemen, who guarantee and maintain this repressive system.



People close to relatives and prisoners in struggle

Update, 24.10.2012: Among the prisoners who had gone on strike was comrade Marcelo Villarroel Sepúlveda. On October 19th, the prison guards realized that 22 prisoners had gone on liquid hunger strike, since two days already, and unleashed an attack by all means. Specifically, on the 20th and 21st of October, 6 striking inmates were transferred to Rancagua prison, amid other threats by the prison administration. This transfer left 9 of the 22 prisoners on hunger strike in the C.A.S. of Santiago. On October 23rd, a solidarity gathering with the prisoners that were still on strike (including Marcelo) was held in front of the C.A.S. The gathering had a strong momentum, but was quickly attacked by special police forces, taking five comrades in. No solidaritarian was beaten, but had to endure the taunts of the cops and the long wait until they were all released. While this was happening, 6 of the 9 prisoners, who by then were on strike in the C.A.S., dropped out because the Gendarmerie wankers threatened to ban the precious conjugal visit. So, only three prisoners continued the liquid hunger strike (including Marcelo obviously). The prison administration imposed the maximum punishment (transfer to a solitary confinement cell) against the three prisoners that are still on strike and by now in complete isolation.