SANTIAGO – Chilean Foreign Minister Heraldo Muñoz condemned on Tuesday the attack by a group of masked men on the Argentine Embassy in Santiago.
“We express our repudiation of those who supposedly protested by abusing democracy and freedom of expression, engaging in what Chile’s government considers an unacceptable act of aggression,” Muñoz said after meeting with Argentine Ambassador Jose Octavio Bordon.
The masked assailants attacked the Argentine Embassy on Monday during a protest over the death of Santiago Maldonado, a 28-year-old Indian activist whose body was found on Oct. 17 in southern Argentina’s Chubut River.
Maldonado went missing on Aug. 1 after fleeing from border police who broke up a demonstration by Mapuche Indians near Esquel in Chubut province.
The protesters threw stones and flaming objects at the embassy in downtown Santiago on Monday, then broke down the building’s door.
“Embassies are inviolable. Even during the dictatorship, I don’t remember a situation like this in which anyone vandalized, broke windows in a friendly embassy, of a country with which we have built confidence and friendship,” the Chilean foreign minister said.
The police officer assigned to guard the embassy was outnumbered in the disturbances, Muñoz said, adding that security would be tightened around the diplomatic facility.
“The government will take all the measures necessary to protect this embassy. We have already spoken with the authorities at (the) Interior (Ministry) and there will be special protection,” the Chilean foreign minister said.
Ambassador Bordon, for his part, thanked Muñoz for visiting the embassy and said that the attack “does not express the cultural values of our countries and we are not going to allow ourselves to be defeated by violence.”
Bordon said Maldonado’s death had brought “pain and anguish” to Argentina, adding that President Mauricio Macri’s administration had not covered up anything in the case.
“This is a sad case, but we can be certain that there has been no cover-up or pressure from the government on the justice system,” the ambassador said.