May 9, 2020

Chilean National Defense Minister announces increased deployment of armed forces to support compliance with quarantine measures

Chilean National Defense Minister announces increased deployment of armed forces to support compliance with quarantine measures
National Defense Minister Alberto Espina and Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel have announced that more military and police personnel are to be deployed to enforce the quarantine measures decreed by the Executive Branch. The announcement was made following a meeting with the National Defense Chief for the Metropolitan Region, General Carlos Ricotti.

The announcement was made hours before 25 municipalities in the capital became subject to quarantine, a measure that will begin for 12 of them at 10 pm on Friday, May 8. This means that some 5 million residents of Santiago will be confined to their homes for the first time during the Coronavirus pandemic, which is the worst pandemic to affect humanity in a century.

“It is all hands on deck for the armed forces and police. They are working together to take on the tremendous challenge of responding to the Coronavirus and maintaining public order and citizen security,” explained Minister Espina as he presented the plan to reinforce oversight and monitoring.

The minister announced the links that have been established between the National Defense Directorate and the mayors of all the 52 municipalities in the capital and the efforts that are being made to protect 22 locations that are considered “critical infrastructure,” including 22 food supply and healthcare centers.

He stated that the deployment includes 73,000 men and women, 33,000 of whom are members of the armed forces, while the other 40,000 are police officers.  In the case of the Metropolitan Region, he said, “the armed forces have increased the number of people on patrol by more than a third. We have turned to our elite forces to support the Chilean people against the coronavirus, because that is the main job they are doing.” In that sense, he highlighted the participation of members of the Lautaro Special Operations Brigade – known as the “black berets”-, an elite army entity, marines and tactical divers from the navy, and the air force (FACh) special forces.  “With their professional attitude, skills and training they will provide a vital support function to the public,” emphasized Minister Espina.

Minister Blumel added, “meetings like the one that we just held have taken place in every region of the country and the regional governors, defense chiefs and police chiefs have done the same job of reinforcing patrols and the controls in order to safeguard the health of the population and safeguard security and public order in every city and municipality in the country.»

He added, «what we are doing is reinforcing the deployment of personnel, increasing the number of people and making more equipment and technologies available in order to ensure that these objectives are met.”

The O’Higgins Region

Minister Espina traveled to the O’Higgins Region this afternoon. There, in the Army Aviation Brigade (BAVE) headquarters in Rancagua, he met with local officials, civilians, military and police officers and the National Defense Chief for the O’Higgins Region, Jorge Jacque. 

He congratulated the personnel deployed in the region for over 50 days of uninterrupted work and asked them not to let their guard down.

The visit to the O’Higgins Region is part of a series of inspections that the Minister is conducting, which have already taken place in Arica and Parinacota, Tarapacá, Antofagasta, Valparaíso, Biobío and Araucanía. Their purpose is to address the deployment of the armed forces as part of the COVID-19 Plan of Action.