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(en) Peñalolén, Chile: 2nd Statement of the Movement of Homeless Workers in Struggle [ca]

Date Sat, 18 Mar 2006 10:03:01 +0200

Santiago, Monday 15th March 2006 --- 2nd Public Statement:
In light of the events of the past few days, when organized residents occupied some
lands near the Esperanza Andina settlement in Peñalolén, and in order to clarify and
to deny comments in the mainstream press regarding those events, the "Movimiento de
Allegados en Lucha" (Movement of Homeless Workers in Struggle) declares:
1. We are part of those 18,000 families who exist in Peñalolén. We live in
cramped conditions with our families, or rent shacks on a precarious basis,
suffering the humiliation of not having a place we can call our own. Today the
value of the lands is so high that we are forced to abandon Peñalolén if we
want our own house. While we watch luxury houses and big parks being built for
the rich, we are forced to migrate to the outskirts, to places where there is
no employment, no basic services such as hospitals, schools, etc.

2. We are organized in several committees of "allegados"*. Over the last 2
years or so, we have taken all the legal steps to seek a solution to our
housing problem through government programmes; we are registered with the
SERVIU (Chilean Housing Agency) and we have our savings books. We have been to
umpteen meetings with various authorities, including the Mayor of Peñalolén,
Claudio Orrego, the director of the SERVIU, Ricardo Trincado, and the Minister
for Housing, Sonia Tschorne, each time receiving only promises, lies and
deceit. We have verbal and written commitments from them, none of which have
been kept. But not only have the authorities not helped us or looked for a real
solution to our housing problem, they have actually developed a destructive
policy of attacking us, attempting to de-legitimize and weaken our

3. Nobody occupies land for pure pleasure or on a whim, but the situation of
many of us has already become desperate. Having exhausted all legal roads only
to be met with the indifference with which we have been treated, we decided to
take this action as a last measure in the search for a definitive solution to
our main demand: decent housing in Peñalolén.

4. It is ABSOLUTELY UNTRUE that we had at any time the intention of occupying
houses destined for former occupants of the area of land known as the "Toma de
Peñalolén", as has repeatedly been stated in the media, and by the Home
Minister, Andres Zaldívar, and the Metropolitan Governor, Victor Barrueto. This
is a cruel, unacceptable and ill-intentioned lie that only seeks to generate
confrontation and division among the homeless workers. We declare our deepest
rejection of what we consider a set-up and a concerted manoeuvre between the
Government, the Municipality, and the Chilean Carabineros together with some
elements of the press. We call on public opinion not to believe this lie, and
we call on the residents to think hard about who is lying and who is telling
the truth. Our organization will always practice solidarity between the poor
and the defence of the human right to a decent home.

5. WE ARE NOT A VIOLENT ORGANIZATION, and we neither practice nor legitimize
violence - we simply want a home. That we organize ourselves and are willing to
fight for what we consider right, cannot be an excuse to accuse us of being
violent or extremist. On the other hand, the government's attitude, and that of
the Carabineros, certainly can be described as being of the most extreme
violence. With a great display of police and military force, including
helicopters, armoured cars, water cannon and hundreds of Special Forces troops,
they proceeded to lay siege to and attack a whole population for more than
three days (something which sadly reminds us of the worst moments of the
military dictatorship). Without any attempt at dialogue and without any
warning, without thought for the presence of children, pregnant women and the
sick, the Carabineros bombarded the population of Esperanza Andina with tear
gas, levelled houses and arrested residents arbitrarily.

6. Lastly, we wish to respond to the declarations of the new government, led by
President Michelle Bachelet, reiterating that it is open to dialogue with
citizens and that no Chilean will be deprived of his or her basic needs. What
dialogue are they speaking about, if no authority has presented itself to us or
manifested the slightest intention of approaching us? What concern for the poor
are they speaking about, if the only answer has been repression and police
violence, mixed with lies and press set-ups? What do people have to do in order
to be heard by these governments that are so "sensitive" to the problems and
the requests of citizens? What can we look forward to in these next four years,
if already in the first days of government, Bachelet is demonstrating her
insensitivity to the drama of life in the real Chile, and prefers smiling for
the cameras, singing and dancing for show while people whose votes were so
valuable in the campaign are surrounded and forced to breathe poisonous gases,
for their insistence in getting a simple piece of land where they can live,
work and dream of a better life?

Beyond all obstacle, and far from being discouraged this repression that we
have suffered, we will continue ahead with our decision of fighting for what we
deserve as any human being: a worthy housing for our families. We know that, on
the contrary of what you/they say through their threats the authorities, the
poor that fight only get their objectives, and this demonstrates it undoubtedly
the same history of our commune: Andean Esperanza's residents, and also those
same ones that soon will move of the taking of Peñalolén to their new houses,
at some time they had to be organized, to join anger and decision, the fear to
lose to the repression, and to take a land. It is not true that anything gets
those that fight!

Despite every obstacle, and far from being discouraged by this repression that
we have been subjected to, we will push ahead with our decision to struggle for
what we deserve as any human being: a decent home for our families. We know
that, contrary to what the authorities are saying through their threats, only
if the poor struggle can they win their objectives, and this is amply
demonstrated by the very history of our municipality: the inhabitants of
Esperanza Andina, and also those who will soon be moving from the Toma de
Peñalolén to their new homes, have always had to organize themselves, to fuse
their anger and decision, the fear of losing out to the repression, and take
the land for themselves. It is not true that those who struggle get nothing!

We invite all those who feel our cause is fair to show their solidarity with
our struggle. For us, those who have suffered so much humiliation and who have
so much need, our dignity is the only thing that we really own, it is our best
weapon and it is something we will never lose, something that motivates us to
continue along this road with hope in our hearts, to achieve our dream of our
own homes...



Movimiento de Allegados en Lucha

Translation by Anarkismo.net

* "Allegados" is a word used to describe people who are forced to share a home
with other families, usually relatives.
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