Last week in South America, Movement for Socialism (MAS) supporters and police clashed with demonstrators for the fourth consecutive week over the timing of the national census in Bolivia. In Chile, multiple incidents of property destruction targeting forestry and construction equipment occurred in the Araucanía and Biobío regions. Meanwhile, in Colombia, armed groups targeted social leaders in at least five separate attacks, reportedly killing two. Lastly, in Brazil, demonstrations continued in support of President Jair Bolsonaro, repudiating the results of the 30 October runoff, while several election-related political violence incidents were also reported last week.
In Bolivia, demonstrations triggered by a dispute over the timing of the forthcoming national census continued last week, although overall demonstration activity in Bolivia decreased by over half compared to the week prior. Several clashes between anti-government demonstrators and supporters of the ruling MAS party and Bolivian police were reported last week in Plan Tres Mil and La Guardia in the Santa Cruz department. At least four people were injured during the clashes, including a Unitel journalist. This violence contributed to the 220% increase in average weekly violent events in Bolivia in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the country during the preceding four weeks. Additionally, some labor groups also held demonstrations demanding the government act to resolve the dispute.
In Chile, several incidents of property destruction and arson were reported in the Araucanía region last week. Unidentified groups set forestry and construction machinery on fire in Lautaro, Loncoche, Victoria, and Purén. In Pidima, an unidentified group burned several buildings on a property belonging to Juan de Dios Fuentes, the former director of the Civil Registry in Araucanía. In Freire, an unknown group set a farmhouse and an adjacent warehouse on fire and left pamphlets demanding freedom for Indigenous Mapuche prisoners at the scene. In Angol, Weichán Auka Mapu claimed responsibility for setting fire to forestry equipment and structures in the Nahuelbuta National Park. Forestry companies in the Araucanía region are the constant target of arson attacks by Mapuche Indigenous militias who have maintained for decades that their territory has been illegally requisitioned by agriculture and forestry companies acting with state complicity (for more, see ACLED’s report on Understanding Indigenous Conflict in Chile). ACLED’s Subnational Surge Tracker warned of increased violence in Araucanía during the preceding four weeks.
Elsewhere, in the Biobío region, an unknown group burned a backhoe and left pamphlets at the scene, condemning police violence against the Mapuche community. In Padre Las Casas, a group blocked the southern railway crossing with a burning barricade as a demonstration to mark the fourth anniversary of the killing of Mapuche student leader Camilo Catrillanca by police. Similar barricades were set up on a road in Temuco.
In Colombia, armed groups carried out targeted attacks against social leaders across multiple departments last week. In Antioquia department, armed assailants shot and reportedly killed a social leader and former member of the Council of Communal Action at his home in Ituango municipality last week. The mayor of Ituango blamed the Gulf Clan for the attack after pamphlets with threats against the community attributed to the Gulf Clan were circulated earlier that week (Semana, 15 November 2022). In Valle Del Cauca, an unidentified armed group reportedly fatally shot a social leader and farmer in Bajo Colima. Further attacks targeting social leaders were reported in Arauca, La Guajira, and Antioquia departments, though no casualties were reported. Social leaders, Indigenous groups, Afro-Colombians, and farmers have been the targets of increased attacks by armed groups in Colombia since 2020 (for more, see ACLED’s report on Understanding the Killing of Social leaders in Colombia During COVID-19).
In Brazil, supporters of the outgoing president Bolsonaro continued to rally in front of military battalions in several cities last week, expressing their discontent with the presidential election results and demanding military intervention to prevent the transition of government to President-elect Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva. Several acts of political violence were also reported last week. In the Taubaté municipality of São Paulo, Bolsonaro supporters attacked a civilian with concrete blocks and a machete when he attempted to pass by a barricade erected by the group. In Porto Velho municipality, Rondônia, an unidentified individual shot at a local left-leaning media outlet’s offices. Meanwhile, in Pernambuco state, a group of people broke into a Landless Workers’ Movement (MST) educational center, setting fire to the facility and vandalizing it with nazi symbols (CNN Brazil, 14 November 2022). The MST supports political parties on the Brazilian left but is not officially tied to any political party.
Lastly, violence related to drug trafficking and organized crime continued throughout the country last week, including clashes between criminal gangs, police operations, and attacks on civilians. This violence contributed to the 27% increase in average weekly violent events in Brazil in the past month relative to the weekly average for the preceding year. ACLED’s Conflict Change Map also warned of increased violence in the country during the preceding four weeks.
Note: This dashboard automatically updates to cover the latest four weeks of data released by ACLED. Use the date filters to view data for the one-week period covered by this Regional Overview.