Argentina's Security Minister Aníbal Fernández Friday said people who believed the Mapuche conflict was to be solved the way General Julio Roca did in the late 1800s were wrong.
“If they think they are going to solve it like Roca with the Desert Campaign, they are utterly wrong,” said Minister Fernández, who added solutions will come when all parties involved sit around a negotiating table.
The Minister insisted during a radio interview that the province of Río Negro was taking the wrong approach to the issue. It seems to me that the Rio Negro road ... I say this when I'm 64 years old and with a head full of grey hair, with which I have some experience in this regard, it will be resolved when they sit down at the table.
Fernández also explained the Mapuche issue was not the invention of some Argentinian 'lefties.'” The minister also believed New Zealand was the example to follow, for having “asked their native peoples for forgiveness.”
“The United States has done it successfully,” Fernández went on. And even the Argentine province of “Neuquén has done things in a very orderly fashion and agreement with the native peoples,” he pointed out, while he also distanced himself from what Mapuche rebel groups have been doing: “Setting fire to public places has nothing to do with claiming a right, much less with solutions.
What these people did is a crime,” said Fernández regarding the attack against the Club Andino Piltriquitrón at El Bolsón. “If the Rio Negro Police were to detain them, they would punish them and they would condemn them, explained the Minister of National Security.
The Internal Security Law says one thing for everyone: one thing for the Nation and another for the province. What I tried to explain is that the law itself says when to act, said the minister. ”Someone should have been prepared for it. The [Río Negro] governor [Arabela Carreras] said that it is 'the obligation of the national State,' and it is not the obligation of the national State. At this moment the entire area is being patrolled by Gendarmería (Border Guard) in solidarity with a province, within the framework of a federal system of government.”
Minister Fernández insisted the federal government was always willing to help but that it was not its duty to fight local crimes. He added it had been his decision, after conferring with President Alberto Fernández, to send in the Gendarmería troops.
Meanwhile, President Fernández wrote a letter to Governor Carreras Thursday warning her that Gendarmería's involvement in the conflict zone was a one-time-only deal and advised her to form a security force because according to Law 24059 on Internal Security, federal forces and those of the provinces need to “act jointly to re-establish internal security.”