They will carry out a strike and mobilization, 17 years after the murder of Carlos Fuentealba in Neuquén

Tomorrow marks 17 years since the murder of Carlos Fuentealba, the teacher who was shot at close range by Corporal José Darío Poblete, during the repression of a protest, on April 4, 2007. The ATEN teaching union will carry out a 24-hour strike, which will include a mobilization in the center of the city of Neuquén.

Fuentealba was a chemical technician and worked as a teacher at CPEM No. 69 in the Cuenca XV neighborhood of the capital. He had graduated in 2004, before that he was a construction worker. He was 41 years old and had two daughters, Camila and Ariadna. His partner, Sandra Rodríguez, was also a teacher.

That April 4, he was part of the group of teachers who traveled to Arroyito to participate in the force measure ordered by ATEN. The discussion over salary negotiations with the government had become bogged down.

The former governor of the MPN, Jorge Sobisch, ordered a major police operation to prevent the cutting of Route 22 during the Easter tourist holiday.

The then Chief of Police, Carlos Zalazar, met with the president the day before to plan what the procedure would be like, in which they would participate special groups of Cutral Co and Zapala.

The repression had three moments, advance and withdrawal of the security forces. In one of them, the teachers took refuge in a YPF service station that was in the area, but the gases also reached there so they had to run cross-country.

After a truce between the police chiefs and the union leadership, the demonstration withdrew along the route towards Neuquén. Some walking and others in vehicles. Among them was the Fiat 147 that grazed an agent with one of the mirrors. Deputy Commissioner Aquiles González asked them to stop the car. It was then that a member of the Zapala special group took his federal pistol and shot him into the rear window, less than seven meters away. The shooter was Poblete.

Fuentealba was lying in the back of the car and was rushed to Neuquén capital. He died at the Castro Rendón hospital on April 5.

In 2008 Poblete was tried and sentenced to life imprisonment. The police leadership, responsible for directing and executing the operation, took 16 years to be brought to trial, a fact that was achieved only due to the impetus of the lawsuit. The prosecution repeatedly urged his dismissal.

In March 2023 they were convicted of abuse of authority Zalazarthe former head of the Metropolitan Security department, Jorge Garrido, Moisés Sotothen deputy chief of police, Adolfo Sotowho was at the time superintendent of Security and director of the operation, Mario Rinzafri. All received conditional execution sentences.

He was also found responsible Benito Matus. At that moment he was not a senior officer, but rather an officer who had gone to bring breakfast to the personnel who spent the night in Arroyito. It was proven that he shot him with a 12/70 shotgun to the car in which three teachers were fleeing: Angélica Cisterna, Marcelo Marenco and Teresa Gómez.

The sentences were confirmed by the Court of Appeal. Those who appealed to the Superior Court of Justice were also unable to reverse the sentence, since the members ratified them.

On Thursday there will be an event in Arroyito, at 9, at the milestone that was set up in memory of the teacher, on the side of Route 22. This year the traditional bicycle ride will not be held. At 11 o’clock there will be the concentration at the monument to San Martín, where the march that will travel through the center of the city will begin.

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