The Emmaus movement stands up for democracy in Latin America

The Emmaus movement stands up for democracy in Latin America

Several Latin American countries, such as Chile, Uruguay and Bolivia, are currently witnessing unprecedented popular uprisings. In the midst of these social crises, and as part of our struggle for peace and universal citizenship, our groups are taking action to defend democracy and respect for human rights.

Las Urracas and the general strike in Chile

Over the last week, mass protests have been taking place in Santiago, the capital of Chile, and in numerous other large cities rising up against social inequalities and the cost of living. Following the declaration of a “state of emergency” by the Chilean government, the army has been deployed for the first time since the end of General Pinochet’s dictatorship and a curfew has been imposed in the country’s main cities.

In this climate of violence, the protests continue and a general strike was organised on 24 and 25 October, involving the Emmaus groups of Las Urracas.

Uruguayan groups are protesting against the “reform of fear”

As part of the Uruguayan parliamentary and presidential elections, the population has been asked to express their views on the proposal for a draft reform to the Constitution. Among other aspects, this draft is proposing the creation of an army corps for internal security. Therefore, for the first time since the return to democracy in 1985, it is envisaged that the military will once again intervene in civil affairs.

A campaign against the reform has been launched by civil society actors ( and member groups of the Emmaus Federation in Uruguay were involved in the general demonstrations organised in Montevideo on 22 October.

The situation in these two countries illustrates a resurgence of violence and of a military presence in maintaining order and the functioning of civilian life. Today this is happening in Latin America, but we are also witnessing developments of this nature in many other places around the world. We must remain vigilant and take action against these attacks on democracy and human rights.