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Different Motivations in the Latin American Movement: Rafa's anarchist perspective

Return to Conscientious Objection: A Practical Companion for Movements

Rafael Uzcategui is a Venezuelan conscientious objector, author, and human rights activist who has been active with War Resisters' International, and in antimilitarism more generally, for many years. Here, he summarises the main tendencies of the Latin American conscientious objection movement, and details how his own nonviolent anarchist position fits into this picture.

During the eighties, many Latin American countries were living under military dictatorships or suffering the consequences of civil war. These were also the days of the Cold War, during which the US considered Latin America one of its 'zones of influence': almost like a back garden. The traumatic and progressive democratisation process meant that broad swathes of the continent's youth developed an antimilitarist sentiment, which began to take on an organised and political dimension. As an adolescent at the beginning of the nineties in Barquisimeto, a town 5 hours away from the Venezuelan capital of Caracas, my peers and I had to hide ourselves twice a year for fifteen days, to avoid compulsory military service. Otherwise they would seize us on the streets and, without wasting words, force us into a truck, with others just as terrified, and from there take us to the barracks. For many of us, these forced recruitment raids or 'press gangs' were the starting point for our rejection of authority and of the military uniform.

Industrie minière, militarisation et criminalisation de la protestation sociale en Amérique latine.

Cesar Padilla, Observatoire des Conflits Miniers d'Amérique latine, OCMAL

Cela n'est pas une nouveauté: l'extractivisme en Amérique latine ne cesse d'imposer un modèle d'extraction et d'exportation toujours plus fort. La majorité des pays de la région est touchée par une course aux investissements dans le secteur minier, pétrolier, forestier ou maritime.

Toutefois, l'extractivisme est de plus en plus contesté de parts et d'autres de la société – notamment par l'académie et les mouvements sociaux.

El extranjero y la extranjera no cantan

Por Golo

En los primeros días de febrero se grabó a un grupo de militares trotando por las calles de Viña del Mar en Chile, cantando: “Argentinos mataré (bis), bolivianos mutilaré (bis) y peruanos degollaré (bis)”1
El video se subió rápidamente a la red y en pocas horas ya tenía cientos de visitas incluyendo a los medios de prensa burguesa, los cuales masificaron las imágenes en los noticieros centrales. La respuesta del gobierno no esperó, señalando que esto no correspondía al “espíritu” de las Fuerzas Armadas y que era un “hecho aislado”. Mientras tanto los militares mandaban cartas de excusas señalando la apertura a la investigación de lo sucedido. Estas declaraciones y supuestas acciones de transparencia son tan conocidas como el cuento de “Pedrito y el lobo” que ya no son tragables y mucho menos aceptadas, por lo menos para quienes no creemos en la institucionalidad.

The Militarization of Young People in Chile

When examining militarisation and young people in this country, we must necessarily look back and take into account the hundreds of years of militarism in the area's history: land occupations and violence by European colonists, construction of the 'national heroes' to motivate patriotism, legislation of obligatory military training, exponential military spending versus the social spending diet, introduction of of military training in civilian schools, and mutation of the armed forces according to the dominant economic model.

Chile’s educational and social movement: Quality Education for everyone… Now!

By Dan Contreras

The root of the problem

In order to understand the educational movement we’ve seen grow over these past few years – becoming most radical in the last six months – we must go back to the genesis of the problem: the strict cost/quality relation brought about by the privatization of Chilean education in the aftermath of the 1973 coup d’état. In short, this means that in today’s Chile, the more you pay, the higher the standard of education you will receive.  The violent and anti-democratic takeover that put this system in place, traded in an economic model that allowed for strong state intervention in educational accountability and investment, for one which minimized government decision-making and encouraged privatization of state universities and growth of private educational institutions. 

Chile: Student movement blamed for fall in numbers of volunteers for the military

Chile reformed its military service seven years ago, to focus recruitment for military service on volunteers. Ever since, Chile's armed forces were able to fill their ranks entirely with volunteers, although generally a process of conscription was started in October to select potential conscripts as a backup. In October 2008, 70,461 youth were chosen in the "sorteo general" (recruitment lottery) and had to report to the recruitment authorities, but in the end nobody was called up for military service against his will. This was repeated in the following years.

Facing low recruitment Chile’s military drafts thousands

Santiago Times, Monday, 17 October 2011 21:25

Ongoing student movement is blamed for the military’s lowest volunteer rate since 2007.

Nearly 57,000 18-year-olds have been called into possible active military service, the Chilean government said Sunday. The announcement comes on the heels of government reports of a 30 percent decrease in military volunteers since October 2010.

Mapuche Resistance: An indomitable people continue in their struggle for life

“There can be Water without Fish and Peoples without Tyrants,
but there can’t be Fish without Water, nor Tyrants without Peoples”

Periódico Anarquista Regeneración, November 5th. 1910 California, Mexican Revolution

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