Iraq: No to war in Iraq – Opposition to war grows in Chile

The opposition to the US war plans has increased in Chile in the past weeks. This has undoubtedly been in part because of Chile’s presence on the UN Security Council. The International Women’s Day march became an anti-war demonstration. 5,000 participated compared with 1,500 on the first anti-war demonstration in Chile.

No to war in Iraq.

Opposition to war grows in Chile

There have also been recent anti-war demonstrations of 1,500 in Puerto Monte and 250 in Talca. Other protests probably took place but were unreported. An anti-war concert was held last Sunday in Santiago and this was attended by 15,000 people.

During the IWD protest members of Socialismo Revolucionario (the CWI in Chile) distributed a leaflet that went down well. People held it up as posters and, in some cases, have put copies in the windows of their homes. In Talca Socialismo Revolucionario comrades distributed leaflets and sold all the papers they had with them. At the concert the same thing happened.

During these protests our comrades received names of youth who will now start their own anti-war campaigning. The Socialismo Revolucionario comrades intend to produce a special broadsheet on the war.

The anti-war movement is not on the scale of Europe. But some of the best youth will be drawn around it, especially those with a more international outlook.

Last week, a crisis arose around negotiations for a free trade agreement between Chile and the US, called the TCL. The US suddenly announced on Wednesday and Thursday that it wanted to reopen negotiations – nothing to do with the Security Council meeting of course! The US is applying huge pressure on Lagos and the Chilean government to accept its position regarding the war. Lagos and the ruling class are just squirming around on what position to adopt at the UN Security Council. They say, ’we support peace and must avoid war but we must also see how the situation develops’.

The UDI, the far right in Chile, attacks the government for going onto the Security Council. They argue the work of the body should be left to the big powers.

Many people think that despite the ambiguous position Lagos has taken so far he will end up backing the US because of his desperate need to get a TCL agreement. If he goes along this path, it will go down like a led balloon with most Chileans and will probably give a boost to the anti-war movement.

For the members and supporters of the Socialismo Revolucionario in Chile the advantage of having the CWI web site cannot be stressed enough. It makes them feel involved and informed of the international work of the CWI.

Upon arriving in Talca comrades enthusiastically spoke to me about the demonstrations that CWI comrades and youth campaigns organised in, for example, Sweden and Northern Ireland, last week. People who are interested in joining the Socialismo Revolucionario in Talca also said how good and vital the website is.

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March 2003