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February 7, 2013

In Chile, Plunder and Perverse Laws against the Indigenous Population

By Gloria Munoz Ramirez

The Coordinadora Arauco Malleco (CAM)in Chile refuses to allow the Chilean government to define the Mapuche people as terrorist criminals when they are fighting to preserve & protect their traditions, language, ancestral organizations & land.

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"While the nation and its governments do not have the political will to resolve our historic demands, which are based in territory and autonomy, it will be difficult to have peace.  If the government continues to obstinately militarize certain territorial spaces, there will be no real possibilities to seek some kind of understanding," declares Ramon Llanquileo Pilquiman from the southern Chilean prison in Angol.  He is one of the two Mapuche political prisoners on  hunger strike since November 14.

Llanquileo and Hector Llaitul, both leaders of the Coordinadora Arauco Malleco (CAM), demand a reconsideration of their legal situation after being convicted for attempted murder. This is the third hunger strike they have carried out since their arrests in 2009. During the previous strikes, they lasted close to 90 days without nourishment.

The "Mapuche problem," warns an appeal circulated in solidarity with their cause and with the activists on the hunger strike, "is not simply a criminal or legal issue; it is a political issue that involves recognizing that the Mapuche are enlisted in a cause that stems from Chile's abusive occupation of their territory south of the Bio-Bio"

Llaitul and Llanquileo, emphasizes the manifesto, "cannot be treated like delinquents and much less like terrorists." Keeping them in that condition, it continues, "makes it even more difficult to move forward with the current dialogue between the Chilean nation and the Mapuche people."

The Coordinadora Arauco Malleco, criminalized and persecuted since its beginnings, is an organization that demands the autonomy of Mapuche communities and the recovery of seized lands, reasons for which they have been categorized as "terrorists." The CAM, states Wikipedia, "is a nationalist Mapuche organization of a terrorist character." No more, no less.

But it is neither terrorist nor criminal. The CAM is part of the autonomous Mapuche movement that struggles for the reconstruction of a people that has been historically dispossessed, plundered, and destroyed. For over a decade, its struggle has expanded and not only includes the recovery of land usurped by the Chilean state and transnational corporations; but also struggles for the vindication of the best elements of a culture that has been vanishing along with the land: language, ancestral organizations, traditions, human relations. In sum, being Mapuche.

The CAM "headed a cycle of recovery of ancestral lands from 1998 to the present, with demands for territory and autonomy in order to reconstruct and defend their rights as native people. The state's response has been an aggressive criminalization and persecution of the Mapuche movement, in which close to 250 activists have been prosecuted, many of them members of CAM," warns the call to solidarity.

There has been an attempt to prosecute both Ramon Llanquileo Pilquiman and Hector Llaitul twice, they were acquitted in a military tribunal, and convicted in a civilian court, strangely enough with the same witnesses and evidence.

"We find this violation of some of the most basic legal principles alarming. Principles such as non bis in idem, in which a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice, and the use of secret witnesses as has happened in this case, breaching legal guarantees. We are extremely worried over the violation of basic human rights, considering that the state's response to indigenous demands for land, territory and autonomy cannot be the criminalization of social protest," indicates a global initiative of intellectuals in their defense.

Currently, the specific and urgent demands are: a rejection of double jeopardy, prison benefits for Ramon Llanquileo (who can access these benefits after serving half of his sentence); and the recognition of time served on remand (close to 5 years as a result of the anti-terrorism law) as part of the sentence already reduced.

Guaranteeing due process of the detainees, revising the legal irregularities in their trial, guaranteeing dignified prison conditions and bringing an end to their unjust prosecution, is the demand that traverses the continent, along with the call to "the immediate and unconditional release of Hector Llaitul and Ramon Llanquileo as a way to end the hunger strike; the creation of a dialogue between the Chilean state and legitimate representatives of the Mapuche people; the defining of a common agenda; the communities' recovery of the territories now in the hands of forestry companies and the recognition of the 1825 Treaty of Trapihue, currently valid and not respected by the Chilean state."

Originally published by the author in Ojarasca, a supplement of La Jornada on January 12, 2013.

INTERNATIONAL PRONOUNCEMENT

FREEDOM TO MAPUCHE POLITICAL PRISONERS

JANUARY 2013

We, artists, academics, indigenous, civil, popular and social organizations of various nationalities, wish to make public our concern over the irregularities and iniquities committed in the criminal proceedings against the Mapuche political prisoners in Chile, Ramon Llanquileo Pilquiman and Hector Llaitul Carrillanca, members of the Coordinadora Arauco Malleco, as well as the violation of any guarantees for the dignified fulfillment of their sentences.

We find this violation of some of the most basic legal principles alarming. Principles such as non bis in idem, in which a person cannot be tried for the same crime twice, and the use of secret witnesses as has happened in this case, breaching legal guarantees. We are extremely concerned over the neglect of basic human rights, considering that the state's response to indigenous demands for land, territory and autonomy cannot be the criminalization of social protest.

We make an energetic call to the Chilean state to guarantee the detainees' due process, to revise the legal irregularities in their trial, to guarantee dignified prison conditions and immediately bring an end to their unjust prosecution. In the same manner, we make a call to respect the rights and basic guarantees of the Mapuche people, to recognize the rights of indigenous peoples established in the ILO's Convention no. 169 and to respond urgently to the demands of the political prisoners on a hunger strike.

We want to express our support for the humanitarian proposal made by 12 public figures, including renowned historians and journalists, student and church leaders, among many others. The initiative, which calls on the state to take a path of peace, based on the recognition of ancestral lands and other measures, is without a doubt, a proposal from the Chilean civil society that deserves our support and backing.

We join the calls for international solidarity to mobilize in January 2013 to demand the release of Mapuche prisoners. Finally, we send a message of solidarity from many parts of the world to the prisoners and their families, and to make it known to native peoples, especially to the Mapuche people, that they are not alone.

SIGNED:

ERNESTO CARDENAL, NOAM CHOMSKY, JAMES PETRAS,MICHAEL L-WY, EMIR SADER, PABLO GONZALEZ CASANOVA, RUBEN ALBARRAN, MANUEL GARCIA, CAMILA MORENO, GUSTAVO CORDERA, PEDRO LEMEBEL, ELENA PONIATOWSKA AMOR, ANÍBAL QUIJANO OBREG-"N, MARTA HARNECKER, RODOLFO STAVENHAGEN, WALTER D. MIGNOLO, MICHAEL LEBOWITZ, EDGARDO LANDER,ANA ESTHER CECE-'A, JOHN HOLLOWAY, DEMIAN BICHIR, MARCOS ROITMAN ROSENMANN, RAUL ZIBECHI,AMPARO SANCHEZ, FRANCOIS HOUTART, ADOLFO GILLY, -"SCAR CHAVEZ, MARISTELLA SVAMPA, FERMIN MUGURUZA, CLAUDIA KOROL, CARLOS WALTER PORTO-GONÇALVES, GASPAR LLAMAZARES TRIGO, BEATRIZ AURORA CASTEDO, HÉCTOR DIAZ-POLANCO, GLORIA MU-'OZ, GUILLERMO ALMEYRA, GILBERTO L-"PEZ Y RIVAS, PABLO MAMANI RAMIREZ, -"SCAR OLIVA, RASHID SHERIF, THIAGO DE MELLO, FRANK GAUDICHAUD, PIERRE SALAMA, FABIOLA VIDAL TOLEDO, VIVIAN LAVIN, IGOR GOICOVIC DONOSO, GENNARO CAROTENUTO, MARIO CASASUS, ORLANDO CAPUTO LEIVA, RAUL ORNELAS, ELVIRA CONCHEIRO, JOSE VENTURELLI,ALIPIO FREIRE, DANIEL OZUNA, FARIDE ZERAN, VIRGILIO CABALLERO, HERMANN BELLINGHAUSEN, MARIA EMILIA TIJOUX, VICTOR MU-'OZ, RICARDO ANTUNES, PAULINA FERNÁNDEZ CHRISTLIEB,RAQUEL GUTIERREZ, JOSE LUIS ALVAREZ GARCIA, CARLOS TAIBO, MARIO AMOR-"S, BENJAMIN ARDITI, JORGE RIECHMANN, SILVIA RIBEIRO, SERGIO NARANJO, CARLOS ANTONIO AGUIRRE ROJAS, ALFREDO VELARDE SARACHO, AXEL DIDRICKSON,SILVIA SORIANO, JUAN ARANCIBIA, CARLOS FAZIO, VICTOR TORO RAMIREZ, CARLOS FERNANDEZ LIRIA,BARBARA JACOBS, VICENTE ROJO, HECTOR SILVEIRA, AGUSTIN AVILA,ELIAS LETELIER, SUSANA RUIZ GUZMAN, JEANNETTE MONTOYA, AURELIO CUEVASDIAZ, GERMANICO DRUSO (JUAN CARLOS PACHECO),DIEGO ALVAREZ MAUREIRA,SALVADOR L-"PEZ ARNAL, JOSE MARIA RIPALDA CRESPO, PACO SEGURA, JOSE ALBELDA RAGA, MIGUEL ANGEL TROITI-'O VINUESA, MASSIMO MODONESI, GERMAN HURTADO ALDANA, MIGUEL ÁNGEL ALVAREZ QUINTANA,  CARLOS RIVERA, TOM KUCHARZ, NURIA VIDAL DE LLOBATERA, MANUEL MONEREO PEREZ, LOIS PEREZ LEIRA, DIANA GUILLEN, MARCO CEDILLO COBOS, ANTONIO RAGO FILHO, CARLOS EDUARDO MARTINS, JUAN CARLOS MONEDERO, ALEJANDRO MOREANO, FABIOLA ESCARZAGA, JURY GARCIA ANCAMIL, LOS DE ABAJO, ELENA URRUTIA, YLENIA HARTOG, CATALINA EIBENSCHUTZ, ARNALDO PEREZ GUERRA,VICTOR HUGO DE LA FUENTE, ISELA VEGA, BEATRIZ STOLOWICZ, HERNAN OUVI-'A, LUISA HUERTAS, JOSE MANUEL MARTIN MEDEM, LUCIANO ESPINOSA, NIALL BINNS, JAVIER MOYA EQUIZA, ABEL ESTEBAN; JANEKEN MONTOYA; JAVIER ANDRADE; MARCO ANTONIO VELAZQUEZ NAVARRETE, ANA LAURA VILCHIS OCHOA, CARLOS BEAS, ADRIAN SOTELO, MARTA DE CEA, MODESTO L-"PEZ, LAURA CARLSEN, FERNANDO ALTEMIR, MARIO BLADIMIR MONROY G-"MEZ,  MARCELA ALVAREZ PD, ALFREDO DUARTE CORTE,

TOGETHER WITH:

People's Front in Defense of the Land (Mexico); Platform of Solidarity with Chiapas and Guatemala in Madrid (Spain); La Dignidad Popular Movement (Argentina); La Karakola Social and Cultural Space (Mexico, D. F.); National Sector Workers and Employees of the City, the Countryside, the Sea, and the Air of the Other Campaign (Mexico); Intelligent Action Collective of the Unemployed, Students, and Workers, (Mexico); Administrative and Academic Workers Coalition of STUNAM (Mexico); Uniroyal National Workers Union (Queretaro, Mexico); The Other Huasteca Totonacapan (Veracruz, Puebla, Hidalgo); Autonomous Center for Training and Political Education of the Workers of the Other Campaign (Mexico, D.F.); Dorados de Villa (Puebla and Veracruz, Mexico); Ollin Alexis Benhumea Hernandez Autonomous Community (Cuetzalan, Puebla); Ernesto Guevara de la Serna Autonomous Community (Ayotoxco, Puebla); Independence Collective (Xalapa, Veracruz); Independent Art Collective (Puebla, Mexico);  Francisco Villa Independent Popular Front-UNOPII (Mexico);  youth in alternative resistance (Mexico); Unity and Citizen Resistance Movement (Poza Rica, Veracruz); San Juan Copala Autonomous Municipality (Oaxaca, Mexico); Honorable National Student House (Mexico, D.F.); The Word of Water -'omndaa Radio Committee (Guerrero, Mexico); Education for the Liberation of Our People Zapatista Organization (Mexico); Popular Indigenous Council of Oaxaca "Ricardo Flores Magon," CIPO-RFM (Mexico); Guetza Radio (Oaxaca, Mexico); Street Brigade for the Support of Women "Elisa Martinez' A.C. (Mexico); the People's Front in the Other Campaign; Neighborhoods' Union; Friends of Puerto Rico Committee, Southeast Maderas del Pueblo A.C. (Chiapas, Mexico); Mexican Action Network on Free Trade (RMALC), (Mexico).

 Gloria Munoz Ramirez is the director of the electronic journal, Desinformemonos, where this article was originally published.

Translated by Marlene Medrano

This article is crossposted at CIPAmericas.org.

Editor's note: My apologies for the anglicized spelling of Spanish names & places. Our site disfigures enes & accent marks for vowels in the following way:  Muñoz Ramírez . We're working on fixing that.



Submitters Bio:
Gloria Munoz Ramirez worked for the Mexican newspaper Punto, for the German news agency DPA, for the U.S. newspaper La Opinion and for the Mexican daily La Jornada. She has lived and worked in Chiapas for many years. She is the author of The Fire and the Word: A History of the Zapatista Movement ( El fuego y la palabra: Una Historia del Movimiento Zapatist) . She has written numerous articles for cipamericas.org.

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