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
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
10/01/2012. Source: WW4 Report
Members of the Huilliche indigenous group blocked the highway between Valdivia and Paillaco in southern Chile’s Los Ríos region the morning of Sept. 28, burning rubbish and setting up barricades to protest a Sept. 21 Supreme Court decision denying them access to a sacred site. A communiqué from an organization calling itself the Huilliche Aynil Leufu Mapu Mo Resistance claimed responsibility for the action, which was also in support of a hunger strike that five Mapuche prisoners in Angol, Araucanía region, began on Aug. 27. The Huilliche are a sub-group of the Mapuche, the largest indigenous group in Chile.
The Huilliches claim they should have access to the Ngen Mapu Kintuante area in Río Bueno commune; they say the area is a ceremonial religious center for them. The Valdivia Appeals Court upheld the Huilliche claim, but a five-member panel of the Supreme Court ruled unanimously that the site was on private property belonging to the Protestant minister Juan Heriberto Ortiz Ortiz. The court also found that the Huilliche community had occupied Ortiz’s land illegally. A group of masked people set fire to Ortiz’s house in June.
The conflict over the Ngen Mapu Kintuante area is part of a larger struggle by the Huilliches against three hydroelectric projects in the region which they say will violate their right to use ancestral lands that include important sacred sites. The first, the Central Hidroeléctrica Rucatayo, opened earlier this month on the Pilmaiquén River, despite resistance by the Huilliche communities; it is operated by the Hidroeléctrica Pilmaiquén S.A. company. Central Hidroeléctrica Osorno, one of the other two projects, will flood the Kintuante area if it is built. (Soy Chile, Sept. 24; IndigenousNews.org, Sept. 25; Radio Biobío, Chile, Sept. 22, Sept. 28;Noticias Terra Chile, Sept. 25)
Four of the five Mapuche prisoners who began fasting on Aug. 27 in Angol were still on hunger strike as of Sept. 29. The strikers–Daniel Leminao, Paulino Levipán, Rodrigo Montoya and Eric Montoya—are weak and have reportedly lost an average of 11 kilograms each. “They’re children, very young, they’re very thin,” said Manuel Andrade, a member of the Ethical Commission Against Torture (CECT). (Leminao is 18 years old and Levipán is 19; available sources did not give the ages of Rodrigo and Eric Montoya.) The strikers are demanding that the Supreme Court review and annul their sentences; other demands include an end to the use of militarization and “anti-terrorist” legislation against the Mapuches’ struggles for ancestral lands. Some 100 Mapuche activists and non-Mapuche supporters marched in Santiago the evening of Sept. 20 to demand the release of the four strikers. (Prensa Latina, Sept. 21, Sept. 29)
From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 30.
By Nikki Salinas-Duda, September 27, 2012. Source: Intercontinental Cry
Note: In 2004 GJEP formed a partnership with the Mapuche group Konapewman, who are fighting the takeover of their ancestral lands by industrial timber plantations of radiata pine and eucalyptus. They are also fighting the legalization of GE trees. The land conflict is generations old and continues to this day, as the article below explains. From the article below:
Resistance to repression has a centuries’ long history in Mapuche communities. The Mapuche staved off incorporation into the Inka Empire and their lands constituted the southern border of Inka territory.
European would-be colonizers met a similar fate. The Spaniards were only able to extend the colonial project as far south as the Bío-Bío River after a protracted battle with the Mapuche. The indigenous territory south of the River was one of the last pieces of South America to be incorporated into a modern nation-state in the 1880s, when Chilean forces finally began colonizing the region a full 60 years after declaring independence from Spain.
Free from the repression of Pinochet’s military since Chile’s return to democracy in 1990, activists began to engage in increasingly radical actions in the struggles for freedom of speech and affordable education.
Mapuche militants are no different in this respect. Legal land occupations and apolitical cultural centers were cast aside in favor of forceful land reclamations, anti-police actions and anti-corporate violence. Uprooting industrial crops and replacing them with foodstuffs became common practice in some communities in an effort to reclaim ancestral Mapuche lands from private and corporate interests.
Photo: Caroline/Intercontinental Cry
CHILE — Five Mapuche activists are entering the fifth week of an “open-ended” hunger strike at Angol Detention Center in the country’s Araucanía region. Community member Daniel Levinao Montoya called the hunger strike after he and Paulino Levipan Coyán were convicted by a military court in mid-August. The men are protesting the militarization of their land in Chile’s south and calling for the release of all Mapuche political prisoners.
The two activists were arrested in connection to a November 2011 shooting in Chequenco that left three members of the national police wounded. The court ruled the shooting was predetermined and sentenced both to 10 years for attempted murder, along with another year-and-a-half for possession of firearms. Levinao and Levipan, whose attorney plans to appeal the convictions, are both in their late teens.
In their fifth message to supporters, the strikers include a chart of their weights before the strike and two weeks in. According to Prensa Latina, community leader Nibaldo Huenuman’s statements to the site indicated the young men “suffer physical deterioration, have lost about 10 kilograms … and can barely stand up.” Despite significant weight-loss and general poor health, the men remain steadfast in their commitment to the strike and have refused hospital treatment.
Filed under Actions / Protest, BREAKING NEWS, Commodification of Life, False Solutions to Climate Change, Food Sovereignty, Forests, Forests and Climate Change, GE Trees, Indigenous Peoples, Land Grabs, Latin America-Caribbean, Political Repression, Youth
09/04/2012. Source: WW4 Report
As of Aug. 31 six Mapuche activists were on hunger strike to protest what they consider the Chilean government’s repression of struggles by the indigenous group, the country’s largest. The strikers include five prisoners in Angol, in the southern region of Araucanía, and Pascual Catrilaf, a machi (healer and spiritual authority) who lives in Temuco, also in Araucanía. A seventh striker, Mewlen Huencho, a werkén (spokesperson) for the Mapuche Territorial Alliance, ended her six-day fast at the Santiago offices of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) after speaking to UNICEF officials on Aug. 31.
The five prisoners in Angol are from the Wente Winkul Mapu community in Ercilla commune, Araucanía, a village where an agent of the carabineros militarized police was fatally wounded in April. They began their open-ended hunger strike on Aug. 27 to protest what they called the “discriminatory, racist and political” prison sentences of 11 years and eight months that two of the prisoners– Paulino Levipán Coyán and Daniel Levinao Montoya–were given by court in Angol on Aug. 13. They had been convicted of attempted homicide and illegal possession of firearms in an attack on carabineros near Chequenco, Araucanía, on Nov. 2, 2011; they are appealing the conviction.