Bariloche's Federal Court Tuesday ruled in favor of an appeal filed by the Argentine Army and halted the handing over of some 180 hectares of State land to the Millalonco Ranquehue Mapuche community.
Surrogate Judge Silvina Domínguez had ordered the delivery of the land within 60 days claiming it had belonged to the Mapuche group for over 100 years. But the Defense Ministry filed an appeal against that ruling on the grounds that the premises were essential to military instruction activities carried out by the Juan Domingo Perón Military School.
The case has now been sent to the Court of Appeals and pending its decision the handover has been halted, according to an undisclosed source quoted by Infobae.
The Millalonco Ranquehue families claim they had held the land since the end of the 19th century, even since before the installation of the military troops. The territory has been in state custody since 1937.
Domínguez's ruling has been singled out as a terrible precedent which might trigger a chain effect with other Mapuche groups who would claim ownership to ancestral lands.” The same magistrate has also acquitted Mapuche leader María Nahuel, who attacked a federal prosecutor while on trial for other charges.
The Millalonco Ranquehue families, together with the Tambo Báez and Celestino Quijada communities questioned the appeal filed by the Argentine Army and issued a note in which they described the attitude as racist and discriminatory.”
“The territory of our communities has been surveyed and recognized by the National State through the INAI (National Institute of Indigenous Affairs). So, a State body recognizes that the territory belongs to the communities but another body, of the same State, intends to dispossess us by insinuating that we do not exist?” the native group stressed.