Chile's new Interior Minister Izkia Siches escaped unharmed after her motorcade in La Araucanía was halted and gunshots were fired into the air in Temucuicui, some 670 kilometers south of Santiago.
Following the incident, the former chairwoman of the Medical Association announced she would not head back to the country's capital. She also pointed out that there was an absence of the State in the area of the Mapuche conflict.
Our response will be comprehensive and the Government is not going to go back on the plan. We will continue with our entire itinerary, seeking dialogue and the reunion of our territory, Siches insisted.
We have always known this work was not going to be easy, she added. Those who thought that we were going to solve it from the [Santiago] Metropolitan Region are wrong. We had to be here in the territory, and that is what has been requested by the President of the Republic since the first day, she stressed.
When the attack on the ministerial delegation was reported, right-wing opposition leaders highlighted that the renewal of the state of emergency was required. The government of Sebastián Piñera had militarized the zone, despite which violence remained high.
We understand that what is happening here is violence, but also a lack of State. Absence of a determined State, that when events like those that occurred today happen, they do not move to the Metropolitan Region but remain in the area, said Siches, who also announced Undersecretary Manuel Monsalve would travel to the region next week, because what La Araucanía needs is the presence of a robust State.
The minister also pointed out that she had been able to meet with victims who have seen the absence of the State and are eagerly awaiting reconciliation and truth.
Despite underlining the need for more security and other measures such as drinking water made available to everyone, Siches said that the Government, together with the Law Enforcement and Security Forces, would begin the de-escalation of the State of Constitutional Exception in the Southern Macro-zone.
We have talked about the importance of having a truth, justice and reparation committee for all the victims. The absence of the State has left many by the wayside, she added.
Those groups that are waiting for violence to prevail, that are into drug trafficking, into timber theft, we are going to confront them, she went on.
The ministerial motorcade was on its way through the Quechereguas rural pass, on its way to the Mapuche community of Temucuicui, when it was prevented from advancing by shots fired in the air, by a group led by Marcelo Carillanca, father of Camilo Catrillanca, a young community member killed in November 2018 during a confusing Carabineros operation.
I want to greet the minister because I think there are good intentions from the government and we value that. Whatever happened along the way, that we must resolve within the community, among ourselves we will talk. But I cannot say what happened, because I have no idea what happened, Catrillanca told reporters.