By José Aylwin, Nancy Yáñez, Rubén Sánchez (excerpt). Source: World Rainforest Movement
Historically, relations between Mapuche indigenous communities and the forestry industry have been marked by conflict, primarily because of the expansion of industrial tree plantations on lands that are part of the Mapuche territory and the impact of these plantations on the communities’ habitat.
There are three business groups that control most of the forestry industry in Chile: Forestal Arauco, Compañía Manufacturera de Papeles y Cartones (CMPC) and MASISA. According to figures from 2007, these three companies owned a total of 1,715,910 hectares of tree plantations in Chile, mainly in the regions of Biobío, La Araucanía, Los Ríos and Los Lagos. In these same regions, tree plantations in the traditional Mapuche territory account for an area three times greater than the indigenous lands recognised by the state.
Most of the tree plantations have been established on traditional Mapuche lands. The communities affected by this industry are claiming their right to tenure over the lands occupied by the plantations, which were usurped from them both during the colonial era and following the military coup of 1973. Continue reading
Filed under Actions / Protest, Biodiversity, Corporate Globalization, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Green Economy, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, The Greed Economy and the Future of Forests
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS, December 25, 2013
A Mapuche Indian leader who became the face of Chile’s environmental movement was found floating in a reservoir she spent a decade trying to prevent from being created, and the authorities said Wednesday that they were awaiting autopsy results although the death appeared accidental. The leader, Nicolesa Quintreman, 73, who was nearly blind, was found Tuesday, a day after she was reported missing. With her sister Berta, Ms. Quintreman became a national figure in Chile during protests against the construction of a hydroelectric dam on tribal land in the forested mountains of southern Chile.
Filed under Climate Change, Ending the Era of Extreme Energy, Energy, False Solutions to Climate Change, Greenwashing, Hydroelectric dams, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Water, Women
Note: Chile’s President was interviewed on the news yesterday about how strong Chile’s democracy is since the demise of the Pinochet regime. I guess if you are a rich Chilean this might be true, but certainly not if you are an Indigenous person… Ironically, much of the Mapuche land was stolen under the Pinochet regime. I guess the idea of democracy doesn’t include to returning stolen lands.
Hmm… sounds familiar…
–The GJEP Team
By Felipe Cordero, Oct 21, 2013. Source: Intercontinental Cry
In the early morning of Wednesday, October 9, riot police and members of the Group of Special Operations (GOPE in Spanish), an elite, special unit of the Chilean Police, raided theTemucuicui Autonomous Community [es], an indigenous Mapuche community located near the town of Ercilla in theAraucania Region of Southern Chile.
A self-denominated “autonomous” community, Temucuicui has occupied what they consider to be ancestral lands for over two years. They have resisted several eviction attempts, and their resistance has landed many community leaders and members in jail.
Note: GJEP has worked with the Mapuche in Chile to stop genetically engineered trees.
GJEP teams up weekly with Margaret Prescod and the Sojourner Truth show for an Earth Minute and a 12-minute EarthWatch interview every Thursday covering front line environmental news from across the globe.
Filed under Actions / Protest, Indigenous Peoples, Climate Change, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Earth Minute, KPFK, Independent Media, Posts from Anne Petermann, Biodiversity, Land Grabs, Forests
Mapuche step up struggle for land and water
July 30, 2013. Source: World War 4 Report
Photo: Caroline/Intercontinental Cry
Indigenous communities in Arauco province in Chile’s central Biobío region have announced plans for a march on Aug. 2 to protest a proposal before the National Congress to extend Forestry Decree 701 for another 20 years. Community residents, who belong to the Mapuche group, Chile’s largest ethnicity, say the forestry laws have allowed timber companies to take over traditional Mapuche lands starting in 1974 under the 1973-1990 dictatorship of Gen. Augusto Pinochet. The most important of these companies are Arauco (Celulosa Arauco y Constitución), largely owned by the Angelini family, and Forestal Mininco, controlled by the Matte family. According to Mapuche activists, there is little chance that the forestry proposal will be defeated, since many of the congressional candidates from Mapuche areas in the upcoming Nov. 17 elections are being financed by these two powerful families. (El Cuidadano, Chile, July 27)
Mapuche groups have been using militant protests and land occupations since the 1990s in their push to regain the territories they claim. On July 24 the Mapuche Territorial Alliance’s blog announced a new series of land occupations that the group said the media were ignoring. The blog reported that various communities in Cautín province in the southern region of La Araucanía had taken possession of estates since the weekend of July 19 near Temuco, the regional capital, and in the area of the construction for a new Quepe airport. On July 24 the autonomous community of Temucuicui—which was subject to a violent police raid in July 2012—announced plans to occupy the La Romana and Montenegro estates and several nearby areas under the control of timber companies. (Alianza Territorial Mapuche blog, July 24)
Mapuche activists are also targeting salmon farming in Mapuche areas. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suspended the importation of salmon produced in Chile by the Norwegian multinational Marine Harvest; on June 5 the US agency found traces of crystal violet, a fungicide with carcinogenic effects, in a batch of the company’s salmon farmed in Chile. Economy, Development and Tourism Minister Félix de Vicente insisted on July 23 that this was “an isolated unique case.“ Marine Harvest facilities “have not used this product for a couple of years, therefore, it should not be a cause for concern,“ he said. But Mapuche activists want the government to investigate the extent to which crystal violet and other dangerous chemicals may have been used in the salmon farming operations and whether the chemicals have polluted water Mapuche farmers use for irrigation.
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 Alberto Acosta, translation by Christina Hewitt, January 24, 2013. Source: Upside Down World
After renewed criticism on the issue of development, Latin America finds itself going through an interesting process of rediscovery with its roots. On the one hand, the historical tradition of elaborate critical analysis that was previously at risk of being forgotten has not been lost and has made a recovery. On the other hand, new concepts have flourished, especially ideas that come from the ancient Abya Yala people, which have then merged with concepts from other parts of the planet. While a good part of conventional thought on development and even most current criticism are based on a Western understanding of Modernity, the most recent Latin American proposals tend to veer away from those limitations.
Essentially, these proposals recapture key issues that spring from the knowledge of the ancient peoples. The Constitution of Ecuador and Bolivia are the most well-known in their reflection of these ideas; the first presents the idea of “Good Living” or Sumak Kawsay (in Quechua), and the second, “Living Well” or Suma Qamaña (in Aymara). Similar notions (although, not the same) exist in other indigenous cultures, such as the Mapuche in Chile, the Guaraní in Bolivia and Paraguay, the Kuna in Panama, the Achuar in the Ecuadorian Amazon, and in the Mayan tradition in Guatemala and Chiapas (Mexico), among others.
As well as the Abya-Yala world view, there are many other parts of the planet that have, in their philosophical thinking, close approximations to the search for Good Living from a philosophical, inclusive way of thinking. Sumak Kawsay as a culture of life has been acknowledged and practiced, in various ways and under different pseudonyms, in different periods of the distinct regions of Mother Earth. On the other hand, although it is considered one of the pillars of the questionable Western civilization, in this collective effort to rebuild/build a jigsaw of elements that advocate for new ways of organizing life, even elements of Aristotle’s “good life” can be recovered.
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