Editor’s Note: A successful environmental movement will result from a coordination between aboveground political action and underground action against critical infrastructures. For security of the overall movement, DGR remains an aboveground organization. We do not have any links with any sort of underground groups. The following is a piece that is republished from Act for Freedom about three attacks against critical infrastructure in Chile.
Los Álamos (Chile), June 9, 2023. The pylon of the high-voltage power line failed to withstand the shock of the attack.
In the course of one long weekend, three explosive attacks hit various critical infrastructures in Chile. On Friday June 9, 2023, two high-voltage pylons were hit first. One at dawn in the municipality of Placilla, some ten kilometers east of Valparaíso, where Chile’s largest port and industrial facilities are located. The second, at around 11 p.m., took place in Los Álamos (Bío Bío region), home to the special forces bases of the Carabineros and the Navy, one of the centers of Chile’s repressive policies. While the first pylon, with two of its four support bars damaged, remained standing, the second collapsed to the ground, cutting off power between Cañete and Tirúa in the Los Álamos area.
The third attack occurred at around 3am on Tuesday June 13, on the railway bridge over the Itata river in the Ñuble region. The bridge, whose sleepers were blown up and rails shattered by the explosion, is used for freight trains, and in particular for the movement of raw materials such as the thousands of industrial eucalyptus trees destined to supply the Nueva Aldea pulp mill of the Arauco company (Angelini Group). Owned by Chile’s national railroad company (EFE), the line was operated by Ferrocarril del Pacífico (Fepasa), the main rail freight company in the south-central region of the country.
Following this series of coordinated attacks on strategic infrastructure in three different regions of Chile, (leftist) President Gabriel Boric took the opportunity to call an extraordinary meeting of all branches of government, at which he set the objective of making a reform proposal within 30 days, to simplify the Anti-Terrorism Act to facilitate prosecutions. As is always the case in such cases, the aim is on the one hand for the government to make an announcement to assert that it is not standing idly by, and on the other hand to reinforce the authoritarian face of the state by bringing out an old project that was already in its files. Finally, investigators from the Carabinieri’s OS-9 group announced that they would be studying footage of toll roads located near the attack sites, and that they were also in the process of collecting data on which phones were active near the affected infrastructures on the days and times of the attacks.
On June 14, 2023, in a communiqué sent to the press, these three consecutive attacks were claimed by a new coordination that had joined the panorama of diffuse guerrilla groups already present in Chile (notably in Mapuche territory): the Movimiento 18 de Octubre, or October 18 Movement, whose name is an explicit reference to the Chilean uprising that broke out on that day four years ago, following an increase in ticket prices. On October 18, 2019, the first day of the uprising, 77 of the capital’s 136 metro stations had been destroyed (20 of them completely burned), before it spread over several months.
In the communique, the October 18 Movement begins by taking responsibility for “three explosive attacks on capitalist infrastructures: the sabotage perpetrated in Valparaíso by Comando Mauricio Arenas Bejas, in Bío Bío by Comando Lafkenche Pilmaiquen and in Ñuble by Comando Luisa Toledo”.
One of these groups takes its name from Mapuche territory (the Pilmaiquen river flows through the territory of the coastal Mapuche, the Lafkenche). The second is named after Mauricio Arenas Bejas, one of those responsible for the attempted assassination of General-Dictator Pinochet on September 7, 1986, who was arrested and shot seven times in the body by the police the following year, then escaped from Púbica prison in 1990, before dying the following year at the age of 33. As for Luisa Toledo, who died in 2021 at the age of 82, she was a left-wing militant respected in many revolutionary milieus, notably for her struggle under the Pinochet dictatorship (but not only) for the memory of her two sons murdered by carabinieri in 1985 (they were members of the MIR), and also for her participation/defense of riotous demonstrations under democracy, including those of the October 2019 uprising.
As for the more precise content of this first claim of the October 18 Movement, which concludes with “Freedom for all political prisoners of the revolt, for the Mapuche, for the anarchists and for the subversives. A new ghost haunts Chile”, here is a longer excerpt translated from Spanish:
“The whole legal-political framework [that of drafting a new Constitution] undoubtedly seeks to consolidate the new process of capitalist accumulation through dispossession, where land and water have become the new commodities at the expense of the people under the pretext of economic growth. And here again, the government, which claims to be left-wing, has put its stamp of approval on the TPP11 [Free Trade Treaty between 11 countries in the Pacific zone signed in 2018], with the expansion of the Los Bronces mining company, the Quintero-Puchuncavi industrial pollution and its crude denial of the ecological disaster that the logging industry has generated in Wallmapu…. The new order conceived by the political and business classes seeks to annihilate the dignified Mapuche resistance that, day after day, confronts the logging companies and landowners who usurp their ancestral territory. In recent weeks, we’ve seen how the government and the right have orchestrated an operation to punish Mapuche political prisoners in Angol prison, dispersing them to different jails and removing them from their communities and families. We understand that Mapuche resistance upsets the capitalists, who have their interests in Mapuche territory, and that’s why they need to strike at their morale in an attempt to subdue them. But we also know that they won’t succeed despite the state of emergency, the unprecedented militarization and the legislative agenda of the political class that has passed the law against timber theft and will soon enact the Ley de usurpaciones, which aims to protect private property against land occupations [by lengthening the duration of sentences and making it easier to incarcerate illegal occupiers]. In this context, we send our fraternal greetings to the people of the Mapuche nation, its political prisoners on hunger strike and its communities in resistance, and may they count on us for future conspiracies.”
And finally, it would have been a shame to not mention the official statement by Chile’s Attorney General, Ángel Valencia, interviewed on Tuesday June 20 on T13 Radio, in which he commented on the triple attack: “Up to now, we have investigated incidents involving explosive devices located in urban areas. The fact that these were in rural areas presents us with an additional challenge in terms of evidence. In urban areas, we have surveillance cameras or Bip! cards [urban transport cards] and other electronic elements which help us to locate those responsible for the attacks. In the countryside, it’s much harder to find such clues. We’re talking here about attacks on critical infrastructure, and there’s no doubt that the situation is worrying.”