By Brendan Bergh
Impunity Watch Reporter, South America
SANTIAGO, Chile – Discomfort rocks the already uneasy relations among in the South American continent. The Chilean government has felt the sting of embarrassment as a video surfaced early Wednesday morning of Chilean Marine Cadets jogging through town chanting what is being called, a ‘xenophobic’ chant. “Argentinos kill, fusilare Bolivian, Peruvian killeth,” the video echoes, or translated as “Kill Argentines, shoot Bolivians and slit the throats of Peruvians.”
The posted video was recorded by tourists visiting the coastal city of Las Salinas. Nearby the Naval Polytechnic Academy was busy, training the new batch of Chilean marines and technical soldiers for the new age. Late in the afternoon a group of ‘apprentices’ began trotting by in formation, led by a superior, chanting as they made their way to the city’s main attraction – a large flower clock tower – before returning to base.
Upon the videos dissemination via the internet the Navy immediately began the process of identification and within hours was able to identify all participants. According to the Chilean Secretary of State, the event took place on January 28, at about 1600 hours. The Navy was almost immediately able to identify the 27 apprentices from the Academy Polytechnic, including the sergeant who was acting as an instructor. According to reports, many of the 27 were engineering students, second year apprentices training in the mechanical field for senior technical positions before graduating as a marine. The Navy and Secretary of State were quick to denounce the apprentices actions emphasizing that “these practices are far from their doctrine” and believed that the songs were improvised to move along with the normal military marching songs.
But according to Internet users from twitter and social media, this may not have been a singular instance. While some came to the Academy’s defense, claiming that this was merely the isolated incident, others including a former graduate from the Polytechnic Academy explained that these chants are sung every day during their physical training. Another user managed to quote an allegedly missing line: “and we’ll drink their blood.”
Reeling back from the controversy, the secretary of state was quick to point out that while sanctions and punishments were to be leveled, it is currently unclear where blame should be associated with. Merely the recruits jogging and chanting, or their sergeant. Either way, the State Department will has stated that they establish an administrative inquiry within 20 days to determine possible sanctions.
For more information, please see:
La Nocion – The Chilean Navy Already Plans Xenophobic Chants Sanctions – 8 February 2013
Noticias Terra – Argentina Expressed “Discomfort” With Chilean Sailors Xenophobic Chants – 7 February 2013
Noticias Terra – Government And Xenophobic Chants: “Lyrics Are Offensive” – 7 February 2013
Latercera – Navy Report On Video Identifies Higher By Apprentices And Sets 20 Days To Assess Penalties – 7 February 2013
BBC – Chile Navy Investigates ‘Xenophobia’ In Video – 6 February 2013