Sunday 12 July 2015

Chile: Update on the case of the comrades Javier Pino and Natalia Collado

Now that the investigative period is over and we await the hearing date for Javier Pinto and Natalia Collado, as a close group of friends we wanted to inform and disclose how our comrades were accused of burning a Transantiago bus three months ago and were taken from us.


In the early morning of April 7, at the corner of Ecuador and Concon, located in the community of Estación Central, the darkness was interrupted with the scene of a burning route 210 Transantiago bus that was completely consumed by fire.

Minutes later Natalia Collado (Tato) and Javier Pino were arrested in Alameda, outside USACH (University of Santiago Chile) and detained on suspicion as their appearance allegedly coincided with descriptions given to the police by the bus driver who reported the fire.

The comrades were taken to Central Police Station 21 where they were told that the bus driver recognized them as two people who boarded the bus without paying at the corner of Alameda and Cumming and left a bag in the back seat before exiting from the rear door of the bus. Tato and Javier were then transferred to the BIPE (Police Brigade of Special Investigations) where they both had DNA samples forcibly taken from them. By now relatives, close friends and comrades who had heard about the arrest began to demonstrate out the front in solidarity with both comrades. Also as usual, the press began to appear in order to caputre the faces of our comrades for the television cameras. The following morning as they were taken to court Javier yelled at the press "Down with anthropocentric patriarchal society!"

The court extended the detention of the comrades for three days so that the police could gather more evidence. At the hearing held three days later, the bus driver's statement was presented as the main piece of evidence. The prosecution also stated that the possibility of an electrical failure in the bus accelerator causing the fire had been ruled out. The judge then formalized the charge of placing an incendiary device on public transport which comes under the arms control laws. The prosecution applied for a 90 day investigative period during which the comrades would be kept in custody and the judge allowed this saying that there were no concrete reasons to reject the application.

Javier was taken to module 11 at Santiago Prison Number 1 while Tato was transferred to the women's prison of San Miguel where she remained in isolation for several days before being transferred to the public connotation module (general population).

Natalia Collado and Javier Pino

From the beginning Tato and Javier openly expressed their view of life as a daily confrontation with the system that is imposed by civilization and openly defended the feelings that emerge from the heart when you decide to break the social monotony.

They refuse to claim a position of either guilt or innocence of the charges, choosing instead to use their lives as a praxis of comtempt and deconstruction of social logic, assuming that  we live in a patriarchal, antropocentric, authoritarian and speciest world that looks with scorn upon all those who believe that life is something much more than cement. 

There are those with a deep love of nature who dare to build new forms of social relationships and who constantly question the moral values learned from childhood even if it results in more failures than successes. Because every decision that on the surface seems harmless such as dietary choice, empathizing with the land and the various beings that inhabit it, the daily respect for the environment, the difficult deconstruction of patriarchy from the depths of relationships, choosing not to go to a hospital, living a self-managed life, finding new ways of learning - to name just a few things, can make it practically impossible to passively coexist with the dominant social order.

This is why their hearts are still beating with the pulse of untamed nature despite being locked behind the cold prison walls. From the beginning of their ordeal they have remained steadfast but without underestimating the impact of imprisonment. It is also important to note that the comrades are in two very different prison contexts.

For Javier the food situation has been difficult as before his arrest he was eating only raw, unrefined food. In Santiago Prison Number 1 this diet cannot be obtained even if you are vegan so one is forced by necessity to eat certain foods. Javier has also kept his long hair despite constant harassment from the gendarmes. It is also important to note that Javier has been unable to access 'recreational' activities such as playing ball. He has been able to use wood carving materials however it took a long time for these materials to reach him in the module due to all of the formalities involved.

Tato has been able to access more of a variety of prepared foods. At first she was sharing a cell with the comrade Tamara Farias Sol Vergara but Tamara was transferred and she is now sharing a cell with Nataly Casanova. Prison conditions in San Miguel Women's Prison are different to Santiago Prison and she has been able to receive craft and drawing materials as well as a variety of books and magazines.

These have been difficult months during the investigative period and the monotony of prison life make the time seem to pass even slower. During their detention Javier and Tato have expressed their feelings through public statements and have stood in solidarity with other imprisoned comrades by fasting or releasing statements. They have had to face the nightmare of imprisonment head on but have emerged with new questions, thoughts and feelings that have reaffirmed their beliefs.

After more than two months since their arrest they have been allowed one inter-prison visit with each other. This can be permitted once a month according to a behavior assessment determined by the gendarmerie. 

Legal Status

On Friday June 26 a hearing was held and a new public defender was assigned who announced that the comrades were refusing to cooperate with the official investigation.

As a result of the hearing, Javier was given permission to regularly receive dried fruits and nutritional supplements. In addition, the comrades were granted a five minute visit with their new lawyer in the court cells after the hearing. And finally Javier allowed a doctor to check on his cracked rib which he had been nursing for two months because he was not willing to receive any assistance.

After close to two months in custody, Tato and Javier gained access to the investigative folder that contains the evidence to be presented against them. The bus driver's statement is still the only piece of evidence against them.

Despite the legal situation and the constant friction with lawyers both comrades are calmly waiting to be given the date for their next hearing.

Although their daily dealings with the gendarmerie have been hostile from the beginning, Tato and Javier have remained steadfast with the support of their loved ones. At first they were closely monitored and classified as prisoners who posed a risk of escaping but these conditions have now been eased. Even so, co-existance with the cops will always be difficult since neither comrade is prepared to resign or bow down to ill-treatment.

From outside we support our comrades with hearts full of love and the certainty that the howl of the pack crosses any wall. Therefore we remain complicit in affinity and solidarity with Javier Pino and Natalia Collado. By strengthening ties, through constant growth and learning with our comrades with more force so that every gesture of affection is a little heat to reach their hearts this winter.

As we wait for the next hearing date we send all our love to our comrades.


Group of comrades and friends.

(via contra info, translated into English by Insurrection News)