The government of President Michelle Bachelet on Thursday apologized in the name of the Chilean state to the indigenous Mapuche tribe for taking their lands and said it has a pending debt in terms of public policies that will allow the La Araucania region, where 600,000 of the Indians live, to emerge from poverty.
The Chilean government started contacts in an attempt to ease tension and find solutions to the escalating conflict with the indigenous Mapuche in the southern province of La Araucania which has seen killings and properties torched.
President Sebastián Piñera declared much of La Araucania in Chilean Patagonia, disaster areas on Wednesday, as four days of non-stop snowfall have isolated the region’s predominantly rural communities and wreaked havoc on basic utilities.
Home to pristine forests and the indigenous Mapuche people, Chile’s Araucanía Region is rich with tourism potential. However, according to the government, the area needs a facelift in order to capitalize on its resources.