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Argentine gov't siding with self-proclaimed machi, Villa Mascardi residents say

Friday, January 20th 2023 - 10:44 UTC
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The Lafken Winkul Mapu is not a Villa Mascardi ancestral community, the residents argued The Lafken Winkul Mapu is not a Villa Mascardi ancestral community, the residents argued

Residents in the Argentine town of Villa Mascardi deemed unacceptable Thursday the proposal extended by Human Rights Secretary Horacio Pietragalla Corti whereby Betiana Colhuan, a self-proclaimed machi (Mapuche leader) who eventually garnered additional support from members of the indigenous community, have access to the land she claims to be sacred to her and her ancestors of the Lafken Winkul Mapu group.

The sacred site in a piece of land under the National Parks Administration (APN) jurisdiction is protected by Federal Judge María Silvina Domínguez's order that any eviction was to be halted.

“The proposal is totally nonsensical. They want us to accept that the machi can live there, in the rewe”, said Diego Frutos, who together with Luis Dates met in Buenos Aires with Pietragalla Corti, who insisted that the “sacred site, that is, the machi's rewe, [was to] be respected.”

“And we maintain that as long as she is there, violence in Villa Mascardi will remain,” the residents told the Río Negro newspaper.

If the machi returns to that property, actions will be taken, it was reported.

”We were firm in the sense that the neighbors do not agree that the Executive Power should interfere with the Judiciary regarding the mother case that had started in December and that the federal judge (Hugo) Greca said that it was truncated until further notice according to the development of the dialogue tables proposed by the President of the Nation,“ Frutos argued.

Greca suspended until February 13 the start of the trial against 9 members of the Lafken Winkul Mapu community charged with the Nov. 2017 usurping of two APN lands in Villa Mascardi. The trial was adjourned to await the outcome of the dialogue table convened by the Nation with the representatives of the Mapuche community.

According to Frutos, Pietragalla assured that the Nation would ”not interfere“ but asked them if we were willing to negotiate. ”Negotiate what? What they want is for the machi to return to her rewe. Only the machi? That is a fable. The machi cannot live alone,“ said Frutos. ”The proposal is totally nonsensical. They want us to accept that the machi can live there,“ he said.

”We asked him, who is going to take responsibility for all the disasters, the violence they committed on our properties? And he said that he was going to channel the government in what way he could give us an answer regarding that,“ Frutos explained after the meeting.

He also pointed out that the Secretary of Human Rights had told them that ”the comments of the rightwing, which are comments that discriminate against the native peoples (...) do not do anything good“ to solve the conflict.

Frutos said he replied that ”neither [do] the comments from (...) the left (...) that label the owners as racists, Nazis, [and] fascists.“

”We were firm in saying that the only option was to remove them from the place, where they had never lived in their lives. That it is not an ancestral community that can be legitimized in the area, (...) the only community in Villa Mascardi is the Wiritray,“ he said.

”He assured us that the surveillance would continue, that the unified command would not be removed. In the end, it was just that, more of the same, but we had better acceptance than when we were received by (former Security Minister Sabina) Frederic... At least, they let us talk,” highlighted Frutos.

(Source: Rio Negro)

Categories: Politics, Argentina.

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