Overview: The Government of Chile continued its efforts to counter domestic terrorism, a phenomenon mainly composed of local anarchist groups carrying out small-scale bomb attacks. U.S. and Chilean officials collaborated on several counterterrorism projects throughout the year, including investigating whether an international smuggling network had any nexus to terrorism and carrying out several training programs that strengthened Chile's ability to prevent and counter terrorism.

2011 Terrorist Incidents: There were approximately 23 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that were detonated, deactivated, or found, the vast majority of which were located in Santiago. Officials believed that these IEDs were tied to anarchist activity. The typical modus operandi was to place IEDs composed of gunpowder inside of a fire extinguisher in front of businesses; banks were most frequently targeted. The majority of the IEDs were crudely built, characterized as "noise bombs," were used late at night, and did not appear to be designed to kill or injure people. However, they did have the potential to injure passersby in the immediate vicinity. The only casualty in 2011 occurred when one of the anarchists was severely burned and lost his hands when the device he planted detonated prematurely.

On March 21, a small explosive device detonated outside the U.S. Binational Center in Vina del Mar. The explosion caused minor damage, but no one was injured. The bombing occurred hours prior to President Barack Obama's arrival. No group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Two IEDs detonated at a memorial to former Chilean political figure Jaime Guzman, directly across the street from the U.S. Embassy. Neither caused injuries nor was aimed at U.S. citizens. The first IED detonated on August 14; the second was used on August 16.

Anarchists targeted high-profile areas, such as the National Cathedral, Grupo Copesa headquarters (a major media publisher), and a Public Prosecutor's office following the October 4 release of 13 terrorists accused of planting bombs following a court decision to dismiss evidence it determined was obtained illegally.

Chilean law enforcement agencies also confronted sporadic low-level violence throughout the year related to indigenous land disputes. The Coordinadora Arauco Malleco, a domestic group primarily operating in the Biobio and Araucania regions of Chile that seeks recovery of former indigenous lands – sometimes through violent means – claimed responsibility for several of the attacks.

Legislation and Law Enforcement: The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation finalized an agreement with the Chilean Investigative Police to exchange biometric information under the South American Fingerprint Exchange program. U.S. officials collaborated with the Servicio Medical Legal (Chile's official forensic service) to implement the latest version of the Combined DNA Indexing System, certify the laboratory, and ensure that laboratory personnel receive appropriate training. Chile is the only country in South America using this version, and as such, is a regional leader in biometrics. Chile participated in the Department of State's Antiterrorism Assistance program.

Countering Terrorist Finance: Chile is a member of the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering in South America, a Financial Action Task Force-style regional body and the Egmont Group. In 2011, a bill was introduced that would modify and establish specific roles for the Financial Analysis Unit in tracking the financing of terrorist activities. Chile has a large and well-developed banking and financial sector with an established Anti-Money Laundering/ Counterterrorism Financing regime. All banks, financial institutions, and companies involved in money transfers were required to report suspicious transactions. Chile used a "list" approach to identify predicate offenses for money laundering, which include narcotics trafficking, terrorism in any form, the financing of terrorist acts or groups, illegal arms trafficking, kidnapping, fraud, corruption, child prostitution, pornography, and some instances of adult prostitution.

For further information on money laundering and financial crimes, we refer you to the 2011 International Narcotics Control Strategy Report (INCSR), Volume 2, Money Laundering and Financial Crimes: http://www.state.gov/j/inl/rls/nrcrpt/index.htm.

Regional and International Cooperation: Chile is actively involved in both multilateral and regional organizations, including the United Nations (UN), Organization of American States (OAS), and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and incorporated their recommendations into its security strategy. Chile also collaborated on bilateral and sub-regional activities to prevent terrorism through the Southern Common Market, and participated in international initiatives such as the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism.

During the year, the Chilean government was involved in UN discussions on the framework of the Global Counterterrorism Strategy, and also participated in programs carried out by the Executive Secretariat of the OAS' Inter-American Committee Against Terrorism and the Terrorism Working Group of APEC's Counterterrorism Task Force.


This 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.