Bariloche residents are planning a mass demonstration to be staged May 29, marking National Army Day, to oppose a court ruling whereby the premises of the Military Mountain School are to be handed over to a Mapuche community.
We want what belongs to all Argentines to be respected, Cristina Cejas, who belongs to a group of neighbors in a state of alert before so many injustices that happen, told El Litoral.
The group has already marched to keep national parks in the region as such. This organization, together with the local Malvinas War Veterans organization, is in charge of promoting the embrace to the military training institute that is in the eye of the storm, El Litoral explained.
It is not a mere whim to safeguard the Army lands and that's it, the Bariloche-born Cejas stressed. The Military Mountain School is the custodian of land that is an international tourist attraction and that has enormous biological wealth that with its watersheds also feeds the Nahuel Huapi and Gutiérrez Lakes.
Cejas also pointed out the school's premises were next to strategic points such as the Balseiro Institute and the Atomic Center. She added that most members of her group have no personal interests since they do not own any of the disputed lands, but they refuse to hand over lands without a previous study of the environmental impact in the region of disposing of them in this way, even more so in a border area. It should not be given freely without a prior in-depth study, she explained.
The activist also highlighted that territorial problems stem from way back, but they were never as visible as they are now [that the native communites] have the full support of the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs.
Cejas also stressed that the Military Mountain School has a lot to do with the history of Bariloche.
It is one of the three outstanding [such academies in the Americas] and does a great job in the community, where we also receive a large number of foreigners who come to train there, Cejas added.
The “Juan Domingo Perón” Military Mountain School is 12 kilometers from downtown Bariloche, on the way to Cerro Catedral. It has been operating since 1964. The Federal Court of Appeals of General Roca upheld a previous ruling favoring the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI), saying the appeal filed by the Army had been turned in out of time. The Army must now hand over the premises to the Millalonco Ranquehue community, as per judge Silvina Domínguez's decision, although the Army claimed the land in question was “essential.” The Mapuche families claim that they have maintained the traditional occupation of the land since the end of the 19th century, even “before the installation of the military troops.”
(Source: El Litoral)