The rising repression of social protest in Latin America
Date Written: 2017-12-06
Publisher: Equal Times
Year Published: 2017
Resource Type: Article
Cx Number: CX21932
On 17 October, 2017, the corpse of Santiago Maldonado appeared in the Chubut River. The young activist had been missing for 80 days. The suspense surrounding Maldonado’s whereabouts aroused a great sense of unease in a country where the word “disappeared” brings to mind the 30,000 victims of the civic-military dictatorship that ruled Argentina from 1976 to 1983.
In countries such as Mexico and Colombia there has been no change in the political cycle, but continuity of the neoliberal hegemony, which has led to extreme violence. "Protest has always been repressed and criminalised in Mexico, but what we have now is a narco-state," summarises Liliana Chávez of the Assembly of Mexicans in Buenos Aires.
"The year 2006 was crucial in shaping the repression in Mexico. That was the year when the president of the time, Felipe Calderón, declared the war on drugs. Except that, as the EZLN (Zapatista National Liberation Army) points out, it was never a state war against drug trafficking but a state war against civil society, against the population as a whole," says Chávez.
According to official figures, 32,000 people were killed during that undeclared war. The Datacívica association lists their names on a webpage aimed at "turning the numbers into people"; the establishment of an official register of the victims is one of the unheeded demands of human rights organisations in Mexico.