State Terrorism in Chile Against the Mapuche

Florencia Lagos Neumann
https://i0.wp.com/www.cronicadigital.cl/imagenes/noticias/2020/08/chile-incendio-ercilla.jpg?resize=696%2C463&ssl=1Chile is one of the countries with the highest number of infected people in the region: 2,000 daily, and the world leader in the number of infections per million inhabitants. In response the government resorts to the old strategy of diverting attention to another conflict by applying the shock doctrine.

In this case, they exacerbate a historical problem, the illegal usurpation of Mapuche people’s land. The original people are resisting today in spite of the brutal repression against them, torture, assassinations and human rights violations.

In Chile, human rights are violated, as corroborated by recent reports from international UN agencies, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch. In this regard, the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), through its twitter account, stated: “The IACHR reminds the State of Chile of its obligations to protect against discrimination based on ethnic origin. It also urges the authorities to prevent, investigate, and punish these acts, and to confront racist narratives against the demands of the Mapuche people”.

In Chile today we are governed by the same people of the military dictatorship who were never tried.

The recently appointed Minister of the Interior, Víctor Pérez, former mayor appointed by Dictator Pinochet, said during his recent visit to Temuco on Friday, July 31: “I am convinced that this can get worse… We are facing groups with military capacity and financing”.

Then, on Sunday, August 2, dozens of “civilians” brutally attacked Mapuches, including women and children, who were in municipalities to demand the release of political prisoners who have been on hunger strike for more than 91 days, among them Machi Celestino Córdoba, who has been in a serious condition for two weeks at the Nueva Imperial Intercultural Hospital.

The Mapuches had entered the municipalities of La Victoria, Curacautín and three other communes in the province of Malleco as a measure of support for their imprisoned comrades.

The mob of “civilians” was specifically summoned by the spokesperson of the APRA group, Gloria Naveillan, who called for action against community members of the municipality of La Victoria.

The group Asociación para la Paz y la Reconciliación de la Araucanía (APRA) is an ultra-right-wing organization with direct links to Piñera’s political party, the Unión Demócrata Independiente UDI.

The militarized police of the carabineros did nothing to prevent or stop the violence of the “civilians” armed with sticks who also threw stones and set fire to a truck belonging to the Mapuche community.

This is in stark contradiction to the statements of the Pinochet Minister of the Interior, who said, “We are here working with the police so that they have the capacity to isolate these organized and violent groups, and that is what we are going to work on”.

The strategy being implemented by the Piñera government is evident: first, to construct a matrix of opinion that justifies the violent actions of its “civil” apparatus, in this way exempting the repressive forces of the government from responsibility and making the fact appear as an expression of “citizenship.

However, the complicity is evident, if we compare the terror unleashed against the peaceful demonstrations carried out during the demonstration last Friday, where new eye injuries caused by the same repressive forces of the government were registered.

Naomi Klein in The Schock Doctrine pointed out: “The truth sounds so strange. I’m writing a book about shock. And about countries that suffer from shock: wars, terrorist attacks, coups d’état and natural disasters. How they are once again victims of shock at the hands of companies and politicians who exploit the fear and disorientation resulting from the first shock to implement economic shock therapy”.

The Chilean state cruelly represses the actors in society who rebel against the causes of a structural problem of the system.

And this time it is deepening a historical conflict to divert attention from the profound health and economic crisis that has accelerated as a result of the pandemic, but that in reality is a consequence of savage capitalism and the economic measures implemented by force to the detriment of the workers in Chile.

After listening to a recent speech by Interior Minister Pérez, Marcelo Catrillanca, father of the murdered Mapuche, said: “Pacification has been a torture, people continue to be killed, people imprisoned, and I think that the whole country with its discontent with this government continues to demonstrate the same thing that we always have said, there has to be structural change, the president first. The AFP has shown that in the social explosion and now with the pandemic, people have said no to the president.” Diario Universidad de Chile, Wednesday, July 29, 2020 8:22 p.m.

The elites intend to preserve the economic model that has denigrated the people through force and the same methods of domination that were learned very well in the 1970s during the dictatorships in Latin America, where methods of physical and psychological torture were implemented.

Torture, whether physical or psychological, violates the Geneva Convention, which prohibits “Any form of torture or cruelty”.

The UN Human Rights Council stresses “the need to address the management of gatherings, such as peaceful demonstrations, in order to contribute to their peaceful holding, to prevent deaths or injuries among demonstrators, bystanders, those responsible for supervising demonstrations and law enforcement officials, and to prevent any violation or abuse of human rights. Resolution 22/10. Promotion and protection of human rights in the context of peaceful demonstrations, 2013”.

In our country, militarization is increasing every day, and children are attacked during the unleashed repression. Today, it is imperative that international organizations intervene in the face of the growing violence of the Chilean Government towards the Mapuche people and towards Chileans; their silence will make them complicit in the massacre.

The author is a correspondent for Crónica Digital and an international analyst.

Human Rights Observatory Denounces Violence by Armed Civilian Gangs and Calls for Protection of the Rights of Mapuche Communities

The Observatory of Human Rights and Police Violence, in view of the events that occurred last night in La Araucanía, where gangs of armed civilians jointly attacked the municipalities taken over by Mapuche community members from Ercilla, Curacautín, Victoria and Traiguén, and in full view of the Carabineros de Chile, we denounce the following:

  • Chile has witnessed the most serious and irrational violence deployed by a coordinated group of civil activists, who, while uttering insults and racist shouts, attacked and beat up the communal members of the Mapuche nation who were inside the premises of the municipalities of Curacautín, Ercilla, Victoria and Traiguén.
  • The actions of these armed groups that operated in these municipalities, apparently coordinated by Gloria Naveillán, spokesperson for APRA (Association for Peace and Reconciliation of Araucania), show the incapacity of the Chilean state to engage in dialogue, or the express will of Minister Pérez to resolve complex problems through violent and thuggish means and outside of any legal or social norms.
  • The Minister of the Interior, in accordance with the public history of his convictions, his link with Colonia Dignidad, his denial of the violation of human rights in Chile, has asserted a silence that tacitly authorizes acts such as those that have occurred. His presence in the area has not sought dialogue to advance a real solution to the historical conflict in Araucania. On the contrary, it has made it clear that the Mapuche nation must submit to the interests of those who have usurped its lands and broken its history and dignity.
  • According to a public telephone conversation that was leaked, the Carabineros of Chile were aware of the actions of these violent civil groups coordinated by the APRA spokesperson and they have omitted to act, allowing the attack of these gangs of civilians during the curfew, which also transgresses the safeguards imposed by the authorities regarding the state of emergency.
  • We hold the Minister of the Interior, Víctor Pérez, responsible for what happened last night in Wallmapu, the violation of the physical and psychological integrity of the Mapuche community members who were there, including women and children who were arrested and separated from their mothers, those wounded by civilians and the escalation of violence that has resulted from letting armed civilians act against other civilians.

It is clear that the State of Chile, through the government of President Piñera, continues to deepen its historical debt to the defense of the human rights of all the people who have inhabited Wallmapu for generations. The violation of their rights has been a systematic practice of the Chilean State and, in this context, the behaviour of the Special Forces of the Carabineros of Chile – by action or omission – has demonstrated the ruthlessness and inhumanity of a system that defends the interests of the owners of capital and power.

The government authorities must stop the mistreatment of the Mapuche communities and impose the implementation of public policies that unreservedly respect human rights.

We call on Minister Perez not to encourage groups of armed civilians and violents to act outside the current legal system in order to intervene in a conflict which it is up to the Chilean State to put an end to.

Santiago de Chile, August 3, 2020
Digital Chronicle