Sunday, August 11th 2013 - 23:25 UTC

Mapuche conflict in Chile flares up following the killing of local indigenous activist

Dozens turned out on Saturday in southern Chile for the funeral of a Mapuche land activist and fugitive who last Tuesday was found dead of shotgun wounds to the chest. Carabineros have made no arrests and have no suspects so far, said local authorities.

Mapuche leader Aucan Huilcaman warned about further violence if there is no dialogue

At the funeral the president of the Council of All Lands indigenous organization, Aucan Huilcaman said that he does not discard police participation in the killing of 26-year old Rodrigo Elicer Melinao Licán who was found dead near land guarded by police in Ercilla, Araucania region, where an ongoing conflict between landowners, farmers and Mapuches has led to outbreaks of violence.

“We do not exclude the participation of Carabineros, as the family has pointed out” said Huilcamam.

“Here there are forest guards, groups that have threatened to use fire arms, and this has been supported by the Chilean government, the Minister of Agriculture Luis Mayor in several opportunities has said that legitimate defence means appealing to fire arms”, claimed the indigenous leader.

He added that if dialogue is ignored, “we could be in the presence of an escalation of violence in the zone”.

Gustavo González, general director of Chile’s Carabineros told media on Wednesday that there is no apparent link between the police and the killing.

“According to the information we are working with, there is no use of weapons or any police procedure or police station that is linked with this act,” González said. He added “my job is to clarify things, to be concrete and objective”.

Regional police chief, Iván Bezmalinovic, also spoke to the press Wednesday, adding that the local officers were not in the area of the incident on Monday night and that the officers do not carry the kind of weapon used in the crime. The autopsy reportedly identified 80 12-gauge lead pellets as the ammunition used.

“This institution does not use the type of ammunition that was found in the body of this young man” Bezmalinovic said, asking for everyone to give the investigation due time to determine the facts of the case.

Last Friday a group of hooded raiders in the early dawn torched several trucks. Apparently a barricade was set up, and the trucks were stopped. Drivers forced down and then the trucks were set on fire.

Carabineros special forces were called to the place and exchanged gun fire with the raiders but finally they managed to flee and no arrests were made.

Earlier this month the United Nations urged Chile’s government to stop using an anti-terrorism law against Mapuche indigenous who are fighting to recover their ancestral land.

Ben Emmerson, the UN special investigator on human rights and counter-terrorism, said the situation is ‘‘volatile’’ in the southern regions of Araucania and Bio Bio, where most of the nearly one million Mapuche live.

Speaking after a two-week visit to Chile, he warned ‘‘that it could turn into a major regional conflict unless urgent action is taken to deal with the acts of violence’’.

He said Chilean prosecutors have enough legislation ‘‘at their disposal to investigate and punish crimes’’ without the need to use the terrorism law that dates from Gen. Augusto Pinochet’s 1973-90 dictatorship.

‘‘The anti-terrorist legislation has been used in a way that discriminates against the Mapuche. It has been applied in a confusing and arbitrary way, which has turned into a real injustice that has impaired the right to a fair trial. And it has been perceived as stigmatizing and de-legitimizing of the Mapuche territorial demands and protests,’’ Emmerson said.

22 comments Feed

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1 pgerman (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 08:05 am Report abuse
I'm surprised with the fact that nobody posted any comment about this article .

If this had happened in the Argentine side of the Andes I bet all of you that it would be dozens of comments claiming against the awful racism of Argentine society.

There has always been a double moral in this site regarding these similar issues. Following this reasoning Pinochet seems to be better than Galtieri, chilean human rights violations (in the past and in the present) don't seem to be as bad as Argentine ones and Chilean history doesn't seem to be a genocide while Argentine one definitly was a terrible one.
2 The Truth PaTroll (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 08:39 am Report abuse
Chile is an ally of the UK, they can kill as many indians as they want.

Don't worry, no one takes the Brits in these matters seriously, everyone in the world laughs at them when they speak of “human rights”. Precisely for the reasons seen here.
3 Porto Margaret (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 09:01 am Report abuse
What more can be said about these outrageous incidents. Other than condemn them.

You appear to wish to blame others for what is clearly an issue for Latam to address and search their collective souls and conciseness.
4 The Truth PaTroll (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 09:04 am Report abuse

Something Europe has yet to do.


You have the native Americans, the Indians, the Chinese, the Southeast Asians, the Arabs, the Africans, the Aborigenes, the Polynesians, the Micronesians... so many people around this entire planet Europeans oppressed, enslaved or murdered.

Never an iota of soul-searching.
5 Porto Margaret (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 09:15 am Report abuse

I never said Europe hasn't got its cross to bear.
6 FI_Frost (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 09:19 am Report abuse

Yeah right , you tell zee inglish pig dog swine - you put them in their place there you did.

(His name is something like Pedro Pizarro and lives in one of the better areas of BsAs - lucky bugger). Too funny.
7 Condorito (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 09:33 am Report abuse
“There has always been a double moral in this site regarding these similar issues. ”

I can understand why you might arrive at that conclusion, but you must be able to see the difference between the Mapuche conflict in Chile/Argentina and the different legacies of Pinochet and Galtieri.

Pinochet saved us from Marxism and Soviet infiltration. Many crimes were committed but in the end he handed power back democratically and he returned the country to the people with a solid economic base and strong institutions. Galtieri achieved nothing of this kind for Argentina; he wrecked the country, wrecked the military and killed 10 times more citizens than Pinochet.

The Mapuche issue in Chile and Argentina is very different as you know. Chile and the Mapuche are inextricably linked. The Mapuche are largely Chilean and Chileans are largely Mapuche.

The Mapuche “activists” are no more or less mapuche than the rest of the population. The difference is they have identified with a political cause. The killing of this activist is no different from any other (alleged) police shooting.
8 FI_Frost (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 10:42 am Report abuse
@ 1 pgerman

You do of course realise the primary 'banter' on this site is between Argentine Peronists/Nationalists/'Malvinistas' and those of the Anglosphere persuasion? Chile, meh.

As a latter, and knowing little of the current indigenous tribal situation in Argentina, I can only say such an issue is useful in reminding those chest beating Malvi's and the like, the utter hypocrisy, ignorance and above all their complete lack of historical CONTEXT when they use such terms as 'pirate', 'colonialist', 'usurper' etc as supposed insults to others they envy.
9 Math (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 01:54 pm Report abuse
Come on, 90% or more of native americans are a bunch of poors claiming to be indigenous.
10 FI_Frost (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 02:24 pm Report abuse
@9 Math

My god, it really was that bad? The slaughter and holocaust those poor indigenous chappies must have faced is truly shocking. You say we now have only 10% of the official estimates?

Rest In Peace. May your gods have mercy on your soul.

Shame on all 'The Conquistadors' and your heirs!
11 Sergio Vega (#) Aug 12th, 2013 - 07:36 pm Report abuse
1 - 2 - 3 - 8 @ What a bunch of ignorant speaking about issues that they didn´t know at all.....
Condorito has gave us a correct lecture about the mapuche problem in Chile....About 80% of Chilean inhabitants have is blood mixed with one of the many different etnias that belong to this country.....more o les mixed but mixed at least......with the Spanish colonizers and the after inmigrants that have made of Chile their own country......
The most of that identifies themselves as mapuches have been integrated to the Chilean society bringing us the plurality we have and they feel themselves proud of their Chilean nacionality.......
But......and here the problems comes, there are a little gang of extremist idler that taking the indigenous origin have built a fake reason to develop a violent terrorism against those they have identified as thieves of their lands, lives and spirit mixed with the oldest marxism-leninism that come from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia were they have been trainned to do so.....
Now, back on this specific case, it has been discovered that this killed offender, that was under prosecution for assault with fire arms, was shooted by his own comrades because internal affaires into the tribes and without any policial participation......His own family has recognized the internal action in this case....
How different things can be when you research about the issues you wnat to opine....There is a two sides coin and you must to know the other one too....
12 Stevie (#) Aug 13th, 2013 - 06:56 am Report abuse
“ there are a little gang of extremist idler that taking the indigenous origin have built a fake reason to develop a violent terrorism against those they have identified as thieves of their lands, lives and spirit mixed with the oldest marxism-leninism that come from Cuba, Nicaragua, Venezuela, Ecuador and Bolivia were they have been trainned to do so.....”

That must be the lowest, most hysterical attempt on a sad excuse I've ever seen.


That's awful....
13 Condorito (#) Aug 13th, 2013 - 09:55 am Report abuse
“That's awful....” really?

So how do you explain the presence of foreigners among the “Mapuche” extremists?

Not exactly fighting for their homeland are they.
14 Stevie (#) Aug 13th, 2013 - 10:03 am Report abuse
So, you lot do support the cause of the native Americans, but only those native Americans that are ideologically close to your views. The rest are communists/terrorists/narco trafficking marxist-leninists.

Where have I heard that rethoric before, I wonder...?
15 cornishair (#) Aug 13th, 2013 - 11:20 am Report abuse
14. “The rest are communists/terrorists/narco trafficking marxist-leninists.” the Argentinian junta late 70's/ early 80's?

Anyway didn't the UN just tell Argentina off for crimes against native argentineans, you know land stealing, police brutality etc etc

And to be fair too Argentina most of the country's set up by Europeans, need to sort out race relations with their natives.
16 Condorito (#) Aug 13th, 2013 - 12:56 pm Report abuse
14 Stevie
For the reasons explained above (@7) you should understand they are no more or less “native” than the rest of us.

I don't support “communists/terrorists/narco trafficking marxist-leninists” of any ethnicity.
17 Stevie (#) Aug 13th, 2013 - 02:18 pm Report abuse
After 600 years, I'd say we're all “natives” according you your argument.

With your very same argument, you should proably keep your thoughts for yourself when talking about natives in Argentina. Or anywhere else, for that matter...
18 Condorito (#) Aug 13th, 2013 - 05:51 pm Report abuse
I haven't said anything about “natives” in Argentina.
You seem to have talked yourself round in a circle.
19 Stevie (#) Aug 13th, 2013 - 06:07 pm Report abuse
No? Not even about those in Copahue. Or the ones you called implants?
Was it you, or was it Chicureo...?

It was you.

Wasn't it?

20 The Chilean perspective (#) Aug 14th, 2013 - 07:05 am Report abuse
Condorito is 100% correct. Chileans are largely indigenous with only about 30% being European, the rest have varying degrees of indigenous blood but the bottom line is there's no pure Mapuche. They are simply Chileans who “think” they are what they are not, and that is they think themselves different from the rest of us. Just look at the picture of the guy in the article, Mapuche leader Aucan Huilcaman,then do me a favour and look at this link of the national soccer team. Put a Mapuche poncho and a headband on most of our soccer team and you wouldn't be able to distinguish them.
21 Math (#) Aug 16th, 2013 - 02:16 pm Report abuse
#20 Like I said, poors claiming to be indigenous. Brazil is full of those, all wearing clothes, speaking Portuguese, working here and there for money, but then come up protesting more productive land (ALWAYS productive land, never useless government land) to do nothing with them.
22 Stevie (#) Aug 17th, 2013 - 07:18 am Report abuse
So, to be indigenous, you can't wear clothes now...

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