Chile: Mapuche Leader Faces Death as Health Worsens in Detention


The Temuco Court of Appeals changed the precautionary measure against the machi Francisca Linconao from pretrial detention to house arrest.

The court filed in favor of the machi, who had been on a hunger strike for 14 days after the house arrest was revoked for the fourth time in custody.

Machi Francisca Linconao is presently at home under house arrest. She was transported by ambulance due to her delicate state of health.

Image result for Aucán HuilcamánThe leader of the Council of All Lands, Aucán Huilcamán, said that the Court had acted arbitrarily, abusively and illegally.


The state is murdering Machi Francisca Linconao

Solidarity appeal for messages of protest

We strongly reject the attitude of the Chilean government and the courts, for the abuses they are committing against the fundamental rights of the Machi Francisca Linconao. This elderly woman, a traditional spiritual leader of her indigenous community, was recently hospitalized urgently. After more than a dozen days on hunger strike, she now weighs less than 40 kilograms!, and according with to the Chilean Physicians’ Professional Association, her life is in danger. “Her survival is a matter of days, not weeks”, they stated.

The Machi, accused of having participated in the murder of the Luchsinger MacKay couple, has been in custody for 9 months. She rejects this accusation, claiming her innocence. She is a well-known activist in defense of the forest and the rights of the Mapuche people. A few years ago, she won a judicial case, defending her land. She sees this accusation against her as revenge for this.

In this case, the presumption of innocence and the right to personal freedom have not been taken into account. The long pre-trial detention violates all her rights. This contrasts with the treatment of State forces, such as the Carabineros (military police) who attempted to kill the young Mapuche, Brandon Hernández Huentecol, and the ‘comuneros’ of Tirua, Jorge Colil and Renato Lincopan, who are walking free, despite the seriousness of the acts committed.

President Bachelet and the government of the “New Majority” remain silenct, which makes them accomplices of what is happening and what will happen in the coming days.

The Chilean state must respect the rights that are clearly established in Convention 169 of the International Labor Organization, ILO, regarding indigenous peoples. The Antiterrorist Law, applied against the Mapuche people makes fair process in the judicial system impossible.

Chile has militarized the Araucania (region in the south of the country), where there have been many new cases of disappeared, killed and tortured people, since the 1990s. Also, some Mapuche women and defenders of the environment have appeared dead under strange circumstances lately, such as Nicolasa Quintreman in December 2013 and Macarena Valdés in August 2016. We do not want Machi Francisca Linconao to become a new fatal victim of this violence.

Once again, we want to repudiate the racist and criminal attitude of the Chilean State against the Mapuche, and call on the international community of workers, young people and the oppressed to speak out and sympathize with the cause of the Machi Francisca Linconao.

No more abuses against the Mapuche people, freedom to all Mapuche political prisoners!


Werken Rojo newspaper
Movimiento Socialista Allendista, Chile
Socialismo Revolucionario (CWI in Chile)

Please send messages requesting the freedom of the Machi Francisca Linconao, to:

Michelle Bachelet, President of Chile

Mario Fernandez, Minister of Interior

Jaime Campos, Minister of Justice

Please, send us a copy to Werken Red:

Mapuche Leader Faces Death as Health Worsens in Detention

The hunger-striking Indigenous leader is under a great risk of vital functions failure, according to a new medical report.

A new medical report warns that jailed Chilean Indigenous Mapuche leader Francisca Linconao is at risk of dying as her hunger strike to demand her freedom continues to weaken her already-fragile health.

“The severe deterioration of her health condition can become irreversible and even cost her life,” says the report completed on Dec. 31, 2016, by a certified medical and psychological team. “Among the risks to which the patient is exposed with the hunger strike are permanent consequences in various vital functions, such as neurological, liver, cardiac and renal functions.”

According to the doctors, the detained leader not only suffers physical deterioration, but spiritual loss of strength as she is deprived of freedom “which prevents her from accessing what she considers her main source of energy, the one that comes from nature, its sacred ceremonies and its mission to offer health.”

The 60-year-old activist has been on hunger strike since Dec. 23 and only consumes liquids. She was detained in 2013 and accused of arson in an incident that led to the deaths of two powerful landlords and still awaits trial.

According to an interview by the medical team, the Machi or Mapuche leader said she is willing to continue the strike until she can’t go any further.

“I want to live, but I am willing to risk my life,”  said Linconao. “I am very depressed because I can’t fulfill my spiritual mission, which is to heal others, to give health and well-being to those who need it.”

Linconao has no access to media and claims that she has been threatened and humiliated by prison officials, according to a statement given inside the Mapuche Medical Center, where she is guarded by six armed policemen.

“When I started the hunger strike, after the third day, they gave me a document from the warden of the women’s prison in Temuco, who said they would sanction me for seven or 30 days after I finish my hunger strike,” said Linconao.

According to the doctors, if Linconao dies during the hunger strike, it would worsen conflicts with Indigenous groups in the country and “would mark a serious precedent in terms of human rights at national and international levels.”

Finally, the medical team recommended alternative measures of imprisonment, such as house arrest, based on the agreement signed by the Chilean state in 2008, which gives this preference to members of Indigenous groups.

According to the report, the Chilean justice system has approved this type of prevention for Linconao, but the ruling has not been fulfilled due to the country’s anti-terror laws.