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Chile: Whether the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (Frente Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez, FPMR) is still active; if so, whether they were involved in recent illegal activities; whether there is any history of forcible recruitment, specifically of women, into this group (2002 - July 2004)

Publisher Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada
Author Research Directorate, Immigration and Refugee Board, Canada
Publication Date 16 July 2004
Citation / Document Symbol CHL42764.E
Reference 5
Cite as Canada: Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada, Chile: Whether the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front (Frente Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez, FPMR) is still active; if so, whether they were involved in recent illegal activities; whether there is any history of forcible recruitment, specifically of women, into this group (2002 - July 2004), 16 July 2004, CHL42764.E, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/41501bf47.html [accessed 12 July 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.

Initially formed as the armed faction of the Chilean Communist Party in 1983 (Global Security 15 July 2002; Patterns in Global Terrorism 1997 8 Oct. 1997), the FPMR was reportedly an urban guerrilla group that carried out a number of assassinations, bombings and kidnappings in the mid-80s (Political Handbook of the World 2000-2002, 217). In May 1991, announcing the group was going to become a conventional political party, the FPMR changed its name to the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Movement (Movimiento Patriotico Manuel Rodriguez, MPMR) (ibid.).

However, sources noted that a dissident faction split off from the original group to form FPMR-Autonomo (Autonomous) or FPMR/A (ibid.; Global Security 15 July 2002), an organization described by the security intelligence Website Global Security as a Maoist-based "left-wing terrorist group" (ibid.). Contrasting information from the United States Department of State's Patterns in Global Terrorism 1997 reported that the FPMR's rebel splinter group was called the FPMR/D and carried out attacks against "civilians and international targets, including US businesses and Mormon churches" (8 Oct. 1997).

By 1993, counter-insurgency efforts by the Chilean government led to the arrests of over 200 rebels, including FPMR/A leaders, which reportedly led to a decline in activities by guerrilla groups in the country (Global Security 15 July 2002; see also Patterns in Global Terrorism 1997 8 Oct. 1997). In 1997, the US Department of State estimated that the FPMR numbered anywhere from 50 to 100 members (ibid.), yet, by October 1999, Patterns of Global Terrorism 1999 had dropped the FPMR from its list of active terrorist groups (8 Oct. 1999). Moreover, according to a 2003 EFE news article about imprisoned insurgents on a hunger strike to pressure the government to reduce their sentences, the FPMR was described as no longer active (16 Nov. 2003).

Nevertheless, Patterns in Global Terrorism 2002 reported that in

August and September [2002], Chilean authorities discovered several small arms caches throughout Santiago and other cities as well as the remnants of explosive material at two communications transmission towers outside Santiago. The weapons and explosives are believed to belong to the largely defunct terrorist group Manual Rodriguez Patriotic Front (FPMR). Law-enforcement agents believe the weapons were smuggled into Chile in the 1980s, at the height of FPMR's activity, but some view the caches as evidence of an FPMR comeback (30 Apr. 2003)

In addition to a current (last updated in July 2004, in Spanish only) FPMR Website that can be found at: , a January 2004 magazine article reported on a press conference held by two men claiming to be members of the FPMR national directorate (Punto Final 19 Dec. 2003-1 Jan. 2004). According to the Santiago-based magazine Punto Final, FPMR members, Leonardo Tapia and Jorge Galvez, announced the group's new political project (nuevo proyecto politico) to work towards a social transformation of Chilean society that Tapia characterized as popular, revolutionary, and patriotic (ibid.). A Yahoo! Noticias article also reported that two FPMR movement members protested in front of the Spanish Embassy in Santiago on 20 May 2004 in order to petition the release of imprisoned Basque nationals in Spain.

Although information on recent illegal activities by the FPMR could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate, a 14 September 2003 Weekly News Update on the Americas report mentioned that the country's Deputy Interior Minister had stated that FPMR pamphlets were found at the sites of nine sabotaged electrical towers in the vicinity of Copiapo, a municipality in northern Chile. In addition, according to a March 2004 report, the Chilean-based group Revolutionary Left Movement (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria, MIR) claimed responsibility for a bomb attack at the consulate of Brazil in Santiago to protest the treatment of MIR and FPMR detainees imprisoned in Brazil for the December 2001 kidnapping of Washington Olivetto, a wealthy Brazilian advertising magnate (Weekly News Update on the Americas 28 Mar. 2004).

Information about whether there is any history of forcible recruitment, specifically of women, into the FPMR could not be found among the sources consulted by the Research Directorate.

This Response was prepared after researching publicly accessible information currently available to the Research Directorate within time constraints. This Response is not, and does not purport to be, conclusive as to the merit of any particular claim for refugee protection. Please find below the list of additional sources consulted in researching this Information Request.

References

EFE. 16 November 2003. "Prison Inmates into Sixth Day of Hunger Strike in Chile." (Dialog)

Global Security. 15 July 2002. "Chile." [Accessed 14 July 2004]

Patterns in Global Terrorism 2002. 30 April 2003. United States Department of State, Washington, DC. [Accessed 14 July 2004]

Patterns in Global Terrorism 1999. 8 October 1999. United States Department of State, Washington, DC. "Changes: Deletions." [Accessed 14 July 2004]

Patterns in Global Terrorism 1997. 8 October 1997. United States Department of State, Washington, DC. "Appendix B: Background Information on Terrorist Groups." [Accessed 14 July 2004]

Political Handbook of the World: 2000-2002. 2002. Edited by Arthur S. Banks, Thomas C. Muller. Binghamton, NY: CSA Publications.

Punto Final [Santiago]. 19 December 2003-1 January 2004. Edicion 599. Manuel Holzapfel Gottschalk. "Chile: El retorno del FPMR." [Accessed 7 July 2004]

Weekly News Update on the Americas [New York]. 28 March 2004. "Chile: Bomb at Brazil Consulate." (Dialog)

____. 14 September 2003. "Chile: Protests, Clashes Mark Coup." (Dialog)

Yahoo! Noticias. 20 May 2004. Santiago Llanquin. "Two Members of the Manuel Rodriguez Patriotic Front Movement Hold a Basque Flag in Front of the Spanish Embassy in Santiago, Chile."

Additional Sources Consulted

Internet sites: Amnesty International, Comision Andina de Juristas (CAJ), Country Reports 2003, Cronica [Buenos Aires], Europa World Year Book 2003, Human Rights Watch, El Mercurio [Santiago].

Copyright notice: This document is published with the permission of the copyright holder and producer Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada (IRB). The original version of this document may be found on the offical website of the IRB at http://www.irb-cisr.gc.ca/en/. Documents earlier than 2003 may be found only on Refworld.

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