Chile: Update on the situation of Tamara Sol – harassment and punishment

From instintosalvaje, translated by waronsociety:

Note by Instinto Salvaje: Our solidarity with our compañera Tamara Sol Farias Vergara is unrestricted, therefore we cannot be quiet about the situation that is happening with our compañera and her family. We only wish to express our irreducible love for our sisters and brothers in prison and for their families and close circle. And to our enemies we want to make clear our hatred with a few words and in each action that each individual and compañerx deems fitting.

To our friends, compañeros and compañeras:

We are the family of Tamara Sol Farías Vergara. As you are already aware, Tamara has been a prisoner in the San Miguel prison since January 22, 2014. In visitation on Monday, June 16, which was a family-only visit, we had serious problems with gendarmería due to the humiliating treatment we were submitted to. The guard who reviewed Tamara’s grandmother, Luisa, who is 75 years old, made her get naked and do squats, reproaching her that she was wearing a lot of clothing. It is worth mentioning that the place where the prisoners receive their families is a gymnasium with a roof but open on both sides, where the wind and rain come in, getting the entire floor wet and creating an extremely cold and damp atmosphere. Then this same official shouted at another inmate’s visitor because her months-old baby was soiled during the review, shouting at her that this could not be, that she had to change her before coming in! This mother arrived in tears to the gynmasium designated for visitation.

Ana Luisa, Tamara’s mom, was treated more violently because she was reviewed and stripped along with another person and also because she had on a linen belt that the guard made her throw away or else leave the area, raising her voice and wagging her fingers condescendingly. Before such agitational behavior by the guard, Ana threw the belt violently into the trash and told the official that only here in this place was she able to abuse this power, but on the street she was nobody. This guesture of rage, produced by impotence, was considered a “grave lack of respect of authority,” denying her the possibility of going in to see her daughter. Tamara’s grandparents, Luisa and Manuel, had already gone in to see Tamara, but on hearing of this, they mutually agreed to leave the visit to rebuke the lady guard for her stupid overbearing position toward the prisoners’ visitors and her sick need to be recognized as an “authority,” and making it clear that neither she nor any uniform is our authority. Both grandparents were also threatened with hellish sentences and brought to the “high superior” of the guards so that he could apply the appropriate punishment to us.

Tamara, after hearing of the undignified treatment and the abuse of power by the guards toward her family, performed a courageous act of dignity, appropriate to her greatness as a human being, in the exercise of her dignity and in defense of ours. She asked for an interview with the prison warden, laid out her complaint for the mistreatment of her family, making it clear that her family is not to be constantly trashed and threatened by the armed officials in uniform and the review protocols toward visitors, sealing her claim by spitting in the face of the prison warden and that of his assistant in charge, and then dropped her pants and showed them her bottom (an action known as a “pale face”) as a demonstration of the humiliation entailed for visitors to have to undress before personnel, to bend over and show their private parts and, while naked, to do squats, even though there are modern means to detect metal (arches in the entryways, a seat-scanner we have to sit for, and batons).

Tamara was punished for seven days without visits. Ana, Tamara’s mother, was for her part punished with three months without visitation, the uniforms alluding that she had “threatened the official’s life,” which is absolutely false. At present we are making a motion of  denunciation and appeal of this abusive measure, through the National Institute of Human Rights and also through the gendarmería‘s own institution.

Another point we want to make clear is that Tamara was beaten a month earlier by two women inmates, she could not defend herself, but she was punished anyway without visits for two weeks. At that time we asked for Tamara’s transfer to another module, but the ones who were transferred to another prison were the aggressors.

But now, this time we will not allow this unjust situation, because it seems to us that we have already reached a dangerous limit of the loss of our dignity before the despotic position of the personnel of the gendarmería.

As the Vergara Toledo family, we publicly denounce the constant harassment and abuse of power on the part of the gendarmería officials, not only toward our family but toward all the visitors of the women who are confined in San Miguel prison. We understand that neither the prisoners nor their families dare to denounce the officials’ abuses, because the consequences are plain. The guard who provoked this whole situation is being protected by her institution, denying us her identity, just like the ones responsible for the 81 prisoners burned alive in this same extermination center. Eighty-one people were killed who were in the hands of the Chilean state and gendarmería and no one is responsible!! We make a call to all the families of all the prisoners to denounce every abusive action by the gendarmería.

Despite the punishments and risks that confronting the prison system entails, above all when one has a loved one held hostage inside there, we believe it is necessary to remain dignified and not let ourselves be ruled by fear and the bullying of those who need to feel “authority,” for whom “surveil and punish” is the only sense of their life.

We are grateful to our beloved Tamara Sol for her great act of courage and dignity in there. She, from her indomitable silence, has taught us that actions do not need so many words, but rather the decision to do them and the clarity with which they make us more dignified and free.

Tamara Sol you are not alone! We are with your until you get your freedom!

This is a letter from the grandparents Luisa Toleda and Manuel Vergara as well as the mother Ana Vergara Toledo, which I, as Tamara Sol’s father, support in its entirety.

I believe it is necessary to spread the situation of captivity in which my daughter Tamara Sol Farías Vergara finds herself at the hands of a repressive state at the service of the neoliberal system.

David Farias Delva

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