Bombs Explode In Santiago And Coronel: Chile’s Police Have No Suspects

22 December
Two more unexplained bombs exploded this weekend: one in Santiago and another in the Region VIII city of Coronel.
The Santiago bomb went off early Monday morning in the borough of Providencia in front of the Chilena Consolidada insurance company near Pedro de Valdivia Street.

The bomb exploded about 1 a.m. and left a 60-year-old man injured and deaf. The bomb also damaged a nearby Transantiago bus stop. No political literature or messages were left at the scene to indicate who the perpetrators might be. Police usually attribute bombings such as these  to local anarchist groups.

The bombing Monday morning came on the heels of a Sunday afternoon bomb scare at the San Borja interprovincial bus terminal in the Santiago borough of Estacion Central. The government’s police bomb squad, the GOPE, evacuated the bus terminal but found no bombs.

Sunday’s explosion in Providencia followed a bomb explosion that day in the southern city of Coronel. The Coronel bomb went off in a Colbún Thermoelectric Company construction site. The company has not yet filed a complaint, leaving the investigation of the incident in the hands of regional, not federal, prosecutors. GOPE reportedly attribute the bombing to Region VIII anarchist groups.

Earlier this month a late-night bomb shook the Region VIII city of Concepcíon, just days ahead of the December 13 Chilean elections. The nine-pound device, detonated on Cerro Caracol, exploded near a communications tower and was heard throughout the city, creating panic among residents (ST, Dec. 11).

This Sunday’s bomb at Coronel is the fifth bomb to explode this year in Region VIII.

Bombings and bomb scares have plagued Chile the past several years. Police report over 200 hoax bomb threats have been made in recent months, including a false alert that shut down the Baquedano Metro station on November 19 (ST. Nov 19), creating commuter havoc throughout the Metropolitan Region.

But not all bomb threats are false: a bomb exploded in a Santiago Marriott Hotel bathroom on November 4 that left six injured (ST. Nov. 4) and a homemade bomb exploded near the main entrance of a BBVA bank branch in Las Condes on November 23 (ST, Nov. 24). In both cases, anonymous callers warned the businesses that a bomb was about to explode.

Chile has seen a sharp increase in bombings – many claimed by nihilist or anarchist groups – since 2006.

Early this year the government stepped up pressure to prosecute those responsible by appointing District Attorney Xavier Armendáriz as a special prosecutor in charge of Metropolitan Region bombings. Armendáriz joined District Attorney Francisco Jacir, who was already investigating bombings.

The special prosecutor’s appointment notwithstanding, not much has changed. Even before the incidents this past weekend, Interior Ministry Undersecretary Patricio Rosende acknowledged his “frustration” at the slow pace of the bomb investigations (ST, Nov, 24).


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