- Created: Friday, 08 December 2017 11:21
- Written by Nahuel
For decades the indigenous Mapuche people have struggled for their land against mining companies, the land-thirsty multinational corporation Benetton and megaprojects to build holiday resorts and ski stations in their historical territories. Mapuche people have resisted state violence and organised themselves, facing repression on both sides of the Andes, especially from the Chilean state, where the ‘anti-terrorist’ laws of dictator Pinochet were never abolished and are used against them.
On 25 November, the far-right Argentinian government of Mauricio Macri launched a huge police operation in the surroundings of the Patagonian town of Bariloche. On 23 November, a nearby indigenous Mapuche community had been brutally evicted, destroying their homes and attacking children and elderly. Some went on the run to the mountains and took shelter for a couple of days but as they came back to their communities, special fired on them, killing a 27-year-old and wounding two others. Two activists who witnessed the killing were detained and are in isolation. Other wounded are reported to be hiding, without medical assistance and afraid to return to the town.
In the last months, the Mapuche struggle has gained support and protests around their rights have increased in Puel Mapu (Argentina), which has been responded to with growing repression. Several Mapuche activists have been dissappeared by the police, recalling the common practice of the military dictatorship in the late 1970s. Not by chance, in early December the town of Bariloche hosted the preparatory summit of the G20 in January, a pretext to militarise the region and clamp down on the indigenous network building resistance. On 9 December, there were marches led by Mapuche women in both Argentina and Chile, to demand freedom for their land, the release of their prisoners and respect for its ancestral culture.