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Interview on the Situation of Anarchist Comrades Mónica Caballero and Francisco Solar

Continuing with the publications in permanent solidarity with Mónica and Francisco, [Brazilian anarchist website] Facção Fictícia conducted an interview with Relatives and Friends of Subversive Prisoners and Anarchists from the Chilean region. In addition to updating on the status of the trial, the interview addresses the importance of active solidarity with prisoners and recent struggles in the territory dominated by the Chilean State.

Originally published by Contra Info. Translated by Abolition Media Wordlwide.

In recent years, Mónica and Francisco were subjected to accusations and imprisonment both in the territory dominated by the Chilean State in 2010 (in what became known as the “Bombas Case”) and in Spanish some years later. We would like you to comment a bit about this history of persecution and what was the impact on the spaces and the struggle in general.

To put it in context and make a brief account of the repressive cases where both comrades have been involved, it is necessary to start in 2010. The State sought to put an end to the different attacks with explosives by anarchist and anti-capitalist groups, and launched an attack against different anarchist comrades, accusing them of being part of an “Illicit Terrorist Association,” hitting different anti-authoritarian expressions. After spending long months in prison, an extensive hunger strike and mobilizations, the comrades managed to take to the streets to face a lengthy trial where they were later acquitted.

Shortly afterwards, Mónica and Francisco left for Spain, where in 2013, they were arrested for the explosive attack on the basilica of El Pilar. The collaboration between the States was evident from the beginning, transcending that during the investigation into the attack and before the arrests, different police reports and intelligence personnel traveled from one side to the other, giving recommendations on where to carry out the investigation and confirming suspicions around comrades.

After a speedy trial, both are sentenced to 12 years in prison, and after reducing their sentence to 4 and a half years, they managed to be expelled to Chile in 2017, with the corresponding media circus and police harassment for months.

On July 24, 2020, the day they were kidnapped by the Chilean State, Mónica and Francisco had their preventive imprisonment decreed for 6 months for investigation. Recently, after this time expired, a new term was stipulated and the imprisonment was prolonged without having had a sentence. What is the status of the trial? Is there a date forecast for the trial to take place?

The procedural situation is as follows: Francisco is accused of sending two explosive packages to the 54th police station and the former interior minister Rodrigo Hinzpetter (an accessory to a brutal repression during his mandate); the device to the police managed to explode while the one sent to the former Minister by chance was not opened and was discovered after the first outbreak; Monica and Francisco are accused of the double explosive attack on a real estate office in a rich neighborhood during the revolt.

Both are formalized under the gun control law, in addition to various counts of attempted homicides. At the time of their arrest, the court gave them a period of 6 months for investigation, a date that was renewed in February 2021. This investigative period may be extended for up to 2 years before going to trial.

We believe that if the prosecution wanted, it could already take them to trial, but it also seems that this delay would have to do with the participation of this team of prosecutors in other trials or perhaps the careful review of the judicial file so as not to make any mistakes as in the “Bomb case.”

Under the health argument to combat Covid-19, both Mónica and Francisco and other incarcerated people were prevented from receiving visits, which left them in a kind of even more severe isolation inside the jail. How is the situation now? Have the visits already happened again? How are Monica and Francisco at the moment?

The situation is still restricted, basically to one visit, a single person 2 hours every three weeks. Each prison and regime has its particularities; in the case of Mónica, she has to choose that week if she wishes to have a visit or if she wishes to have an assignment (Food that enters the prison by solidarity), while in the case of Francisco, the Limitations force that only his blood family can visit. With “Relatives and friends of Subversive Prisoners and anarchists,” we have participated by informing and struggling to return to visits with different expressions of agitation.

Specifically, both are well, living different realities of the prison. Francisco, for his part, is under strict isolation, much of the day locked up, with little or no sunlight, while Mónica, for her part, is in the public connotation section, isolated from the rest of the prison population, having to live with prisoners who are separated from the others because they will be accused of crimes considered intolerable and that can be avenged by the other prisoners.

Despite the different realities, both are in good spirits; they have access to gendarmerie telephones to be able to communicate with their friends and comrades, always asking about conditions outside and about other comrades in prison.

The territory dominated by the Chilean State is very convulsive and has an intense history of insurrections and anarchic struggles. Of which we have the most news are the intensification of the Mapuche uprising in recent years, especially with the territorial recoveries, and the revolt of October 18, 2019. We receive information about several Mapuche prisoners and murders (as was the most recent case of the comrade Emília BAU, killed by hitmen from a private condominium in Panguipulli), as well as more than 2,000 people arrested, many wounded and others killed by police. It seems very evident to us that the imprisonment of the people involved in the struggles is a coup by the State to try to extinguish the insurrectionary flame that burns in the streets. We would like you to comment a bit about the current situation of the struggles out there and how you analyze this reaction of the repressive forces.

The repressive panorama is broad, like the struggle. Undoubtedly, since October 18, when the revolt in Chile began, it marked a before and after on the one hand, and also a continuity and exacerbation on the other. It is undeniable that many people are in prison linked to the struggle; in December 2019, there were 2,500 prisoners of the revolt, a figure that then gradually decreased. It is a broad and diverse reality, rather than a homogeneous group with clear positions.

Regarding the prisoners of the revolt, as well as the dead and mutilated as a result of the repression in that process, it is necessary to point out that not all of them are revolutionary comrades, but rather individuals who rose up against the prevailing order, for the most diverse reasons.

It is a wide and diverse reality, with many political positions, from the most irreconcilable anarchic to citizen positions and people eager to integrate in the system, passing through many people who were simply tired and spontaneously protested with great anger. It is important to assume that diversity so as not to fall into romanticism, idealize situations or force dynamics that are not such. It is precisely considering this reality that various initiatives are raised in solidarity with the prisoners of the revolt, as well as in remembrance and revenge for the dead and maimed, as well as against the State.

Even with the constant persecution by the State, Monica and Francisco stayed in combat and with their heads held high, especially in jail. They even wrote a statement that addresses the need for harmony between the struggles inside and outside the prisons. Do they manage to have contact with the other subversive people who are also in prison? And with those who are outside? Is access to books and letters allowed, for example?

Monica and Francisco have been part of the environment with comrades in prison for years; both were frequently visiting incarcerated subversive comrades. So that relationship remains unbreakable but has simply changed its form and modality. Despite being in the same penal unit, Francisco has little direct contact with those in maximum security and almost no direct contact (face to face) with those in High Security, but in the same way, existing networks and links are strengthened with fluid communication between all comrades.

Only as a sample can be seen the joint writing between different comrades, drawn from within “Before the revolt, the plebiscite and the judicial situation: Communiqué of prisoners of the social war for the destruction of prison society.”

How do you analyze the importance of solidarity transcending both the prison walls and the border between States?

That is a necessary and interesting dilemma, a challenge for the anarchic struggle. In the case of the comrades, we were already faced with the issue of internationalist solidarity in 2010 with the “bomb case” where beautiful networks were informally forged with the detainees, and on the other hand, when they were arrested in Spain, this question was addressed to us, about our ability to articulate and cross borders. Today, while the comrades are imprisoned here, there are a lot of daily issues that urgently need to be resolved here, as legal and financial help is always required.

But that is only one aspect of solidarity; there is, on the other hand, the dissemination and agitation of the case and perhaps more important and sustaining are the public debates around the positions of the comrades. Bring them to the streets, let them speak only and exclusively from their condition of imprisonment and contribute to the fight.

In another dimension, there is a fear that the solidarity with both is plagued with resignation, that it is not worth fighting and that it would only be necessary to resign oneself to a possible conviction and then have to take care of the expenses of the life of the comrades in prison. That scenario is really the worst.

Finally, how can people in solidarity support the campaign for the freedom of Monica and Francisco? Is there a channel through which information and communications can be accompanied?

We upload the texts and information to the counter-information pages, we try to be very clear and regularly upload updates and relevant information. We move away from those positions that seek to go unnoticed or lower the profile of cases. The comrades are imprisoned for the actions of the struggle, the comrades have been part of the struggle for years and it corresponds to maintain a dialogue and information with all of us who are on this side of the barricade.

On the ways in which it can be supported, this response lies in the creative capacity of each person, from dissemination, agitation, to the collection of economic funds, as well as direct communication with them through letters, contemplating them in projects or simply raising your own solidarity initiative.


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