SANTIAGO – Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz on Monday met with Carlos Diaz, a young Venezuelan citizen living in Chile who last month was beaten and arrested by Carabineros when he tried to intervene in their violent arrest of a Haitian immigrant on a Santiago street.
“I expressed to him that we regret that incident because Chile is not like that. Chile welcomes visitors and those who ask to make Chile their second home,” said the country’s top diplomat at a press conference.
Muñoz said that Chile respects the human rights of its own citizens and foreigners and emphasized that the Carabineros – Chile’s militarized police – took “immediate measures” and suspended a corporal involved in the attack.
The incident occurred on Oct. 19 in downtown Santiago, when a Haitian citizen was surprised trying to avoid paying for a bus ticket and was forcibly arrested by five Carabineros.
Diaz was passing by the spot and, upon seeing the police beating the Haitian, tried to stop them whereupon they turned on him, began beating him and then arrested him.
The Carabineros got into a police van and Diaz activated the audio on his cellphone. The recording revealed that the officers continued their physical attack on him along with xenophobic insults.
“Do you think you’re Batman, you idiot? A superhero? Do you think you’re the lawyer for the poor? Are you a lawyer?” one of the officers asked him. The recording reveals the police insulting him, calling him “black” in a disrespectful way and saying that in Venezuelan they would have “killed” him.
The incident sparked a reaction from the Venezuelan government, which condemned the “brutal attack” in a communique in which it also asked the Chilean government to launch an exhaustive investigation to determine responsibility in the matter.