By Diego Cupolo, February 20, 2013. Source: Upside Down World
Protest in Coyhaique, Chile. Photo: Diego Cupolo
Three white windmills whirl high in the mountains above Coyhaique, one of southern Chile’s largest cities, and Patricio Segura Ortiz points often in their direction as he talks about the nation’s energy future. Sitting behind his desk in the cluttered office of Patagonia Sin Represas (Patagonia Without Dams), a national organization against the construction of hydroelectric plants in the region, Segura becomes animated as he speaks about the HidroAysén $11 billion megaproject that aims to build five dams in two of Patagonia’s largest rivers.
“I understand that we might need more electricity in the future, but this isn’t the kind of discussion we can have over Microsoft Excel spreadsheets,” he said. “When you look at a mountain full of forests do you see furniture and plywood or do you see a national park? Is a river the vein of our natural resources or is it nothing more than a producer of megawatts? This discussion is much larger than figures and calculations and basic economic questions. Here at Patagonia Sin Represas, we ask what kind of a country do we want to build?” Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Greenwashing, Hydroelectric dams, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests, Water
From Weekly News Update on the Americas
Chilean authorities suspended a hearing for indigenous Mapuche prisoner Fernando Millacheo Marín on Feb. 12 after some 20 of Millacheo’s supporters, including women and children, were detained outside the courthouse in Collipulli in the southern Araucanía region’s Malleco province. Police agents attacked the crowd of about 50 protesters with a water cannon, according to Mapuche sources, and beat several women and handcuffed an 11-year-old. The detainees were charged with public disorder, and Millacheo’s hearing was postponed to Feb. 15. The authorities said the protesters caused the clash by hurling rocks at police agents, but Mapuche activists countered that the detentions were part of a wave of repression that included the arrest of Jaime Huenchullan, werken (spokesperson) for the Temucuicui autonomous community, along with an unnamed French national, while they were on their way to the hearing.
As of Feb. 16 Millacheo had been on hunger strike for 55 days and reportedly had lost 15 kg (33 lb). He is awaiting trial on charges of robbery, arson and attempted murder in incidents that occurred at the Chiguaigüe estate on June 16, 2012. Millacheo says he is innocent, and Mapuche activists consider him a political prisoner. This is his second hunger strike since his imprisonment: he participated in a hunger strike with four other Mapuche prisoners in the prison in Temuco in October. On Feb. 16 Millacheo demanded a new doctor, charging that he had been subjected to “racist treatment” by Roberto Baos Somarriba, a physician at the El Manzano prison in Concepción.
Another Mapuche prisoner, Héctor Llaitul Carillanca, agreed to end a 76-day hunger strike on Jan. 28 after meeting for several hours with representatives of nation and international organizations supporting Mapuche rights; the group included Llaitul’s mother, Florinda Carillanca, and his wife, Pamela Pezoa. Llaitul heads the Arauco Malleco Coordinating Committee (CAM), a militant organization pressing for restitution of traditional Mapuche lands. Visitors had said on Jan. 26 that the activist was near death. Another CAM hunger striker, Ramón Llanquileo Pilquimán, ended his fast on Jan. 31, also after 76 days. Agreeing to at least one of Llanquileo’s demands, prison authorities restored his access to weekend leaves starting on Feb. 8.
By John Ahni Schertow, February 8, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Most recent hunger strike by imprisoned activists over “politically motivated prosecutions” and state application of Antiterrorist Law comes to a close as conflict between Mapuche communities and the Chilean state intensifies. The Real News Network reports.
By Marianela Jarroud, February 6 2013. Source: Inter Press Service
Panoramic view of Lake Neltume. Photo: Marianela Jarroud/IPS
SANTIAGO, Feb 6 2013 (IPS) - “This is paradise and they want to destroy it. This has had an enormous psychological impact on us,” says Guido Melinao, leader of the Mapuche indigenous community of Valeriano Cayicul, referring to the Neltume hydroelectric power plant project planned by the Spanish-Italian consortium Endesa-Enel.
The plant, to be built with an investment of 781 million dollars, would have an installed capacity of 490 megawatts and generate an estimated average of 1,885 gigawatt-hours of electricity annually.
In addition to the hydropower plant, which will be run with the waters of the Fuy River and empty into Lake Neltume, Endesa-Enel’s plans also include the construction of a high-tension power line to distribute the electricity through Chile’s Central Interconnected System. Continue reading
Filed under Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Green Economy, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Water
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
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
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
US-trained School of the Americas soldiers detained for Jara’s murder
29 December, 2012. Source: DailyKos
Multiple wire services are reporting this morning that Judge Miguel Vasquez has ordered the detention of eight former Chilean military officers as a step in his investigation into the assassination of folksinger Victor Jara in the brutal days immediately after Chile’s September 1973 coup d’etat. According to the BBC, an international arrest order has been issued for Pedro Barrientos, at the time the lieutenant in command of the squad accused of killing Jara who currently lives in Deltona, FL. Along with Barrientos, Colonel (r.) Hugo Sanchez has also been charged with homicide. The other six are charged with complicity in the murder.
Jara’s murder was a flashpoint in mobilizing international opinion against the emerging Pinochet dictatorship, already stained by the extremely violent coup which involved firefights at government ministries, the aerial bombing of the presidential palace, mass detentions involving tens of thousands of opponents, and the death of elected president Salvador Allende (widely believed at the time to have been murdered by the military). Jara was detained in Santiago on the day of the coup itself, taken to one of the concentration camps established in the city’s stadiums, subjected to brutal torture, and then had his fingers and wrists broken by the soldiers interrogating him. He was then murdered by machine gun fire (shot 44 times) and his body left on the street to be discovered by passersby.
On the flip, some songs by Jara to help us remember him on this bittersweet day. It’s been 39 years since they killed him, but the dream he struggled for to his last breath lives on.
Inti-illimani – Canto De Las Estrellas
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
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
By Rocio Alorda, October 29, 2012. Source: Latinamerican Press
Machi Millaray Huichalaf defends the right to the lands that Mapuche people consider “a mother.” (Photo: Rocío Alorda)
The Mapuche movement in Chile is going through a complex time. With nine detained community members who went on a hunger strike – four of whom lasted more than 60 days on strike – and clashes between Mapuche communities and police in southern Chile, Sebastián Piñera’s administration on Oct. 8 signed an executive order establishing the Indigenous Development Area, or ADI, in the town of Ercilla. Thirty-seven of the 42 communities in the area accepted the order.
The Indigenous Law of 1993 created ADIs, which are defined as “territorial areas where state agencies will focus action in favor of the harmonious development of indigenous people and their communities.” According to the government, ADIs create a space for land acquisition programs, agricultural consulting, support for entrepreneurship, and resources to improve healthcare and road infrastructure.
Pinera told reporters that ADIs fulfill the promise of generating dialogue as the only way to solve the Mapuche conflict.
“This is the path that will pay off, the path of dialogue, the path of action, not one of violence or attacks,” Piñera said. “That´s why, with the same strength, I reiterate my commitment to fight with every weapon in the rule of law against criminals and subversives that far from being positive, only cause harm and pain to the cause of the Mapuche people and the cause of our country.” Continue reading