The Governor of the Argentine province of Río Negro Wednesday requested assistance from the federal administration to cope with increasing violence from so-called Mapuche groups claiming their alleged rights to ancestral lands.
Governor Arabela Carreras' petition before President Alberto Fernández to send in additional Gendarmería Nacional (Border Guard) troops came after a new arson attack was staged in the city of El Bolsón.
We are concerned and working intensely about the situation we are experiencing, a situation that is not new, said Carreras in a radio interview. She also recalled that ”in 2014 the Club Andino Bariloche had suffered the loss of a property, in 2017 another mountain refuge was lost, and now we have already had three arson attacks, one in a reporting center in El Bolsón that we were about to open, one against a Provincial Roads post, and now this one at the Andean Club in El Bolsón.”
Carreras also explained she had filed a request before the local federal judge because she considered that these attacks fell under federal jurisdiction due to their nature.
Tuesday evening a new attack completely destroyed the facilities of the Club Andino Piltriquitrón. The Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM) took full responsibility for the incident. It is “a belligerent group with international connections and that does not feel identified with the national or provincial state, therefore there is a conflict that it far exceeds common crimes,” Carreras said.
She added federal forces were in the Andes area and after seeking help from Security Minister Aníbal Fernández she had decided to send a note to President Alberto Fernández himself, “so that above all they act in the areas of their competence, such as national routes,” Carreras said.
Carreras was also very critical of Argentine Ambassador to Chile Rafael Bielsa taking it up on himself to defend incarcerated RAM leader Facundo Jones-Huala before Chilean courts. “I think there is a lack of understanding of the scale of the problem. Each permissive intervention of this type generates an aggressive reaction in our territorial space,” the Governor explained.
I regret that Bielsa defends an aggressor who also ignores the National State, she stressed. Chilean senators have already sent a letter Bielsa warning that the Alberto Fernández administration defending the Mapuche leader represented “the intention to interfere in one of the powers of the State of Chile in a flagrant manner.
In this context, Environment and Sustainable Development Minister Juan Cabandié has called for a joint administration between Río Negro authorities and Mapuche leaders in the alleged ancestral lands.
“Cabandié spoke of ruling together with a group that burns, intimidates and hurts people and has multiple causes in the provincial and federal Justice for aggression. It would be very good for those who intend to give their opinions to visit the area so that they can see the effects of the destruction, Carreras added.
She insisted co-management between a State that is an authority, with a criminal group, is a lack of knowledge of how a society is legally and constitutionally organized.
“I am not asking for a favor, but rather for what is appropriate,” Carreras went on.
Tuesday evening the Piltriquitrón Andino Club was set ablaze and threats against Carreras were left behind by the perpetrators against Governor Carreras as well as British businessman Joe Lewis and the Benetton family, who own large extensions of alleged ancestral land in the area.
The fire broke out around 4 in the morning at the clubhouse and despite efforts from the local Firefighters of El Bolsón, losses were total.