On Thursday, May 14th, two Chilean students were shot dead in the city of Valparaiso. The two students, Exequiel Borbaran, 18, and Diego Guzman, 24, were participating along with 160 000 others in mobilizations across the country. Students were demanding the fulfillment of the government of Chile's promise to deliver free, quality, accessible public education at all levels.
Exequiel and Diego were shot by a store owner after attempting to hang a banner at the end of the march. Diego was a member and activist of the Communist Youth of Chile (JJCC), which has a long and proud history of resisting fascism and violence and fighting for a socialist Chile.
In a statement released on the day of the murders, the JJCC reiterated the demands of the current youth and student movement, which Exequiel and Diego died fighting for:
|The two Chilean student martyrs: Diego (left) & Exequiel (right)|
The Communist Youth contextualized this current act of violence within the history of Chile and the current struggle:
"This act shows us that this Chile with rights does not yet exist; that violence and individualism are structural elements of the system inherited from the dictatorship; that fascism directed against those who dream of a different society and fight for it, is not over.
|JJCC mural reads: "Justice for Diego & Exequiel - |
Their voices will continue to live"
There are political sectors of our country who have felt it their right to stop the ongoing transformation processes and have contributed in different ways to create an atmosphere of criminalization and hatred against social mobilization. We say clearly: what happened today will not frighten us or inhibit us. We did not give up the fight when they killed many of our people in the struggle to defeat the civil-military dictatorship; neither will we now in the fight to win our rights and deepen democracy."
With many vigils and marches taking place in the evening of the 14th, and continuing into this week, the youth of Chile have answered the JJCC's pledge to honour Diego and Exequiel by deepening the "fight to win".
The Young Communist League of Canada sent a letter of solidarity to the JJCC and the Chilean student movement, in the context of the political murders. It highlights the connection between these acts in Chile and a new wave of repression directed at the global youth and student movement, which also has its reflection in Canada:
"...In the last few years we have seen several different attacks by ultra-right groups (and sometimes even by official authorities) against progressive, anti-imperialist and communist youth. We can recall here the recent disappeared students from Ayotzinapa in Mexico, the murder of the young Venezuelan leader Robert Serra, the attacks against Young Communists of Venezuela’s (JCV) headquarters and the trial of comrade Aleksander Đenić in Serbia, among others. Student strikes which took place in Québec this spring have seen more students injured by police, students facing expulsion from school, and charges from the state.
All these attacks are part of the monopolies’ plan to crush all kind of popular movements and clear the way to place the burden of the capitalist crisis on the shoulders of the people. This is linked to a global and very dangerous normalization of fascist ideology, which is even present to a certain degree in our country.
We would like to conclude by reiterating our full solidarity with your struggle for free education, democratic rights, against imperialism and for peace as we believe this is the best way to ensure that these murders don’t go unpunished. We also want you to be sure that we will keep struggling for the same goals in our country as the best guarantee of our international solidarity.
We can’t let murderers have the final word. Violence can’t defeat our struggle for a better future.