Daily Review: Attack on Police in Chile Adds to Boric’s Troubles

Daily Review: Attack on Police in Chile Adds to Boric’s Troubles
Chilean President Gabriel Boric sits in a limousine the day after his inauguration, Santiago, Chile, March 12, 2022 (AP photo by Esteban Felix).

Armed assailants ambushed and killed three police officers in Chile’s southern region of Biobio before setting their car on fire Saturday. It remains unclear who carried out the attack. President Gabriel Boric called the assailants “terrorists” and declared three days of national mourning. (AP)

Our Take

Despite the attack remaining unattributed, it still fits into two major trends in Chile over recent years. Both have complicated the presidency of the 38-year-old Boric, who took office in 2022 as a standard-bearer for Chile’s—and the region’s—next-generation progressive left.

First, the attack occurred in a region where the Mapuche Indigenous community has long opposed the encroachment of forestry companies, as well as other private landowners, on their traditional land. That opposition has on several occasions crossed the line into armed resistance, which has intensified in recent years, with the conflict concentrated in Chile’s Araucania region, just south of Biobio. That context suggests this attack was carried out by an armed Mapuche group.

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