Tag Archives: Araucanía

Mapuche conflict in Chile flares up following the killing of local indigenous activist

11 August, 2013. Source: MercoPress

Mapuche leader Aucan Huilcaman warned about further violence if there is no dialogue. Photo: MercoPress

Mapuche leader Aucan Huilcaman warned about further violence if there is no dialogue. Photo: MercoPress

Dozens turned out on Saturday in southern Chile for the funeral of a Mapuche land activist and fugitive who last Tuesday was found dead of shotgun wounds to the chest. Carabineros have made no arrests and have no suspects so far, said local authorities.

At the funeral the president of the Council of All Lands indigenous organization, Aucan Huilcaman said that he does not discard police participation in the killing of 26-year old Rodrigo Elicer Melinao Licán who was found dead near land guarded by police in Ercilla, Araucania region, where an ongoing conflict between landowners, farmers and Mapuches has led to outbreaks of violence.

“We do not exclude the participation of Carabineros, as the family has pointed out” said Huilcamam.

“Here there are forest guards, groups that have threatened to use fire arms, and this has been supported by the Chilean government, the Minister of Agriculture Luis Mayor in several opportunities has said that legitimate defence means appealing to fire arms”, claimed the indigenous leader. Continue reading

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Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression

Chile: “terrorist” attacks in Mapuche region

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has worked in partnership with the Mapuche group Konapewman in the Lumaco District of Chile, and has been tracking this story as it’s been unfolding.  The Mapuche have long been struggling against the conversion of their agricultural lands into monoculture plantations of pine and eucalyptus; a process which was catalyzed by the wave of privatizations and “shock doctrine” policies of the Pinochet dictatorship.

–The GJEP Team

January 15 2013.  Source: WW4 Report

Chilean landowner Werner Luchsinger and his wife, Vivianne McKay, died in a fire set by some 20 masked attackers on Jan. 4 at their Lumahue estate in Vilcún, in the southern region of Araucanía. Luchsinger, who was 75 years old, reportedly fought back against the intruders with a firearm, wounding at least one. The couple, who owned some 1,000 hectares of farmland in the region, had resisted demands for land from the indigenous Mapuche community. Pamphlets were found at the site commemorating the fifth anniversary of the death of Mapuche student Matías Catrileo Quezada, who was shot in the back by a police agent on Jan. 3, 2008 during an occupation of an estate owned by Werner Luchsinger’s cousin, Jorge Luchsinger. Continue reading

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Historic Mapuche land conflict flares up

Note: Global Justice Ecology Project has worked in partnership with the Mapuche group Konapewman in the Lumaco District of Chile–where more than 60% of Mapuche people live in poverty with one-third living in extreme poverty.  Much of the poverty has been caused by economic policies of the Chilean government which have led to the conversion of productive Mapuche agricultural lands into pine and eucalyptus plantations.  These communities also suffer the toxic impacts of the chemicals used on theses plantations.  There has been a long struggle of the Mapuche against industrial timber plantations, and the conflict below is merely the most recent example.

–The GJEP Team

January 8 2012. Source: Inter Press Service

The Mapuche community claims ancestral lands in Araucanía. Photo: Fernando Fiedler/IPS

The Mapuche community claims ancestral lands in Araucanía. Photo: Fernando Fiedler/IPS

SANTIAGO – A string of attacks in the southern Chilean region of Araucanía, where native Mapuche people are struggling for their land rights, puts the spotlight squarely on what analysts call the “supine ignorance” displayed by authorities about the country’s history.

Two persons died in an arson attack on Friday Jan. 4 in one of a series of recent crimes in the so-called “red zone”, the epicentre of the Mapuche conflict, which has often been marred by violence and frequently met with bloody retaliation from security forces. There were more incidents over the weekend, including the torching of lumber trucks, in which no one was injured.

The Mapuche, the country’s largest indigenous group, numbering some 700,000 people, are demanding the return of their ancestral lands. Wealthy landowner and forestry businessman Werner Luchsinger and his wife Vivianne McKay died on their Lumahue ranch, in the municipality of Vilcún, 640 kilometres south of Santiago, when their home was burned to the ground. Continue reading

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Indigenous Chileans still fighting Pinochet-era highway project

By Marianela Jarroud, December 27 2012. Source Inter Press Service

Lake Budi has already been affected by the construction of the bridge to Huapi Island. Photo: Marianela Jarroud/IPS

Lake Budi has already been affected by the construction of the bridge to Huapi Island. Photo: Marianela Jarroud/IPS

PUERTO SAAVEDRA, Chile – For more than two decades, Mapuche indigenous people in the Chilean region of Araucanía have been fighting the construction of the Ruta Costera (Coastal Highway), a megaproject initially conceived during the Augusto Pinochet dictatorship (1973-1990) which has already caused significant archeological and cultural losses and damages.

The Coastal Highway is meant to connect one end of Chile’s long, narrow territory to the other, running north to south as close to the Pacific Ocean as possible. The completed highway would be more than 3,340 km long, of which more than 2,600 km have already been built. Continue reading

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