News "We were called to alleviate suffering": The outbreak in...

“We were called to alleviate suffering”: The outbreak in the voice of the president of the Maipú Red Cross

This week, within the framework of the Social Outbreak Special, the Voces en Casa de La Voz de Maipú program received several guests who related, from different points of view, to the great social movement that shook Chile from 18 October 2019.

One of the interviewees was Gladys López, president of the Red Cross Branch Maipú, with whom he delved into how the institution participated by receiving the numerous protesters and citizens who were physically and psychologically affected in the confrontations with the police.

On the events that he had to witness and provide medical assistance in the Plaza de Maipú, Gladys commented:

“To be a Red Cross, we took two years. And when we have to swear to be a Red Cross, it means basing ourselves on and respecting seven fundamental principles, within which, in this Social Outbreak, the principle of humanity, neutrality and impartiality ”.

“We are called to alleviate human suffering and improve people’s quality of life, their dignity. And in this context, we barely knew about the serious problems that had been injured in the Plaza, on the same day we were present receiving and opening doors ”, he added.

The development of her work and that of her colleagues protected both protesters and passers-by who were not directly involved in the confrontations and repression.

“In the front garden of our Branch, next to the BancoEstado, we could house 150 people who came running. Protesters, people who were back from their jobs, who had nothing to do with and contain them. Inside attending in corridors, attending in boxes, different types of wounds, burns, pellets, of everything, absolutely everything.Gladys said.

He also added that “doors had to be opened and many people protected. People with panic attacks, people who did not have to and were involved, and others who went to protest. Never in Cruz Rojas had there been so many sprayers with milk for pepper spray, with water with bicarbonate, running from side to side, the generosity of the community too, seeing how they invited us, the same to the brigades that also gave aid ” .

Gladys López’s social outbreak reopened old wounds, those caused by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet: “They were very chaotic situations and days with a tremendous emotional charge. Believe me I have cried a lot because I never thought I would experience some things again. During my years, I lived through the military coup as a university student, so the Social Outbreak for me shook my soul and now I knew that I was in a position that, as a Red Cross, as my institution requires, we had to be present ”.

Regarding the work of the Maipú Branch Red Cross, the instantaneous work within a chaotic context stands out:

“When we attend we do not take names, we do not take a registry, there is absolutely nothing left that can identify anyone we have attended. We see faces, we see smiles, we see gratitude, we feel the rich embrace of each person and the satisfaction of having been able to help. Was strong. No one was prepared for what was lived“.

“There was everything, absolutely everything. You can also notice, many times, the reaction of the parents, because we were much underage and had to call the parents because the children could not return alone and you are a witness to how they react, not all in a good way. You see that behind that young man there is a communication problem with his parents as well ”, he commented in Voces en Casa de La Voz de Maipú.

Among the people who attended were minors unprotected by the State, girls and boys who had nothing to lose: “There were many little children in the demonstrations, many children. The subject leaves you with things turning, because there was a lot of Sename boy who told you ‘Auntie, I have nothing to lose, I’m Sename’. That’s how they define themselves. But they hug you so well and give you a hug when you lend them a shirt because you had to change their clothes, they had to bathe, etc, because there the bathroom was implemented, change of clothes, change of everything.

“The same community brought us any amount of clothes so they could change because As long as pepper spray is not removed from the body, it is terrible. There were also many burns, from the guanaco and tear gas that compromise the entire airway, “he added.

The injuries caused by the Carabineros officials as a result of the pellet shots were part of the emergencies that the Maipú Branch Red Cross had to attend to, pellets, bullets and others:

“We even treated a young man with a gunshot wound to the thigh, very close to the femoral artery, that young man was referred, treated and operated. Thank God it passed inches from the artery otherwise it would have bled us. The ambulance arrived early, we were able to transfer him and after a couple of weeks he came to thank us. He was a person who went to look because he was working at Mega Salud and he went to see what was happening in the Plaza, ”recalls the Red Cross worker.

At the end of the program, Gladys López dedicated words to the thousands of people who demonstrated demanding structural changes for Chile.

“Today’s youth amazes me. I am amazed by the clear ideas and Andrea [representante de los Secundarios presente en el programa] has said something fundamental, ‘the respect we owe each other’That much has been lost and it is a great cause of the serious social problems that we have in our country ”.

“We have a point apolitical, neutral, impartial and we will always be present helping any human being, regardless of the political side.We will be present there and in fact we have been there ”.

“Taking advantage of this channel and this space, I ask young people: take care of yourself, protect yourself. A fraternal hug. I hope the best for you, for my country, for my country, “said the worker who protected and cured hundreds during the social outbreak in Maipú.

Red Cross Branch Maipú


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