MAPUCHE

Incendiary attacks in La Araucanía continue

SANTIAGO – Two incendiary attacks on farms in La Araucanía region occurred during the early morning of Saturday July 14. The attacks caused material damage, but no casualties. At the scene, the police found a banner referring to Mapuche leader Machi Celestino Córdoba’s situation in jail.

During the early morning of Saturday July 14, two farms were attacked with incendiary devices in southern La Araucanía region. The first attack occurred on a farm called Tranapeque, in Lumaco community, where an empty house was burned. Besides, a banner with slogans in support of jaile Mapuche leaders Machi Celestino Córdoba and the Trancal brothers was found.

The second attack destroyed five agricultural machines on the Flor del Valle farm, in Curacautín. Both incidents are being investigated by the Special Police Investigation Brigade BIPE (Spanish acronym), part of national special investigation police PDI.

Machi Celestino Córdova is imprisoned over the murder of the Luchsinger-Mackay couple in 2013. The couple died after attackers burned their house during a riot in commemoration of Mapuche student Matías Catrileo’s murder, shot by a Carabinero. The brothers Trancal were also sentenced on charges of rural violence and as directly responsible for the couple’s murder.

Córdova’s situation at the prison has been critical after he started a 100-day hunger strike, with which he wanted to force a government response to his request for visiting the Rehue, a place where an important Mapuche ceremony takes place.Córdova also fought for permission for Mapuche prisoners to freely express their beliefs in prison and demanded the release of all prisoners the state has taken in the conflict with Chile’s indigenous population.

A long-simmering conflict between the state and the Mapuche people is presumably the reason for the incendiary attacks. Mapuche comuneros fight for what they consider an unfair distribution of lands, in which they lost a big part of their territory in the early 1990s. The government, however, views the incendiary attacks as terrorism. The newly updated Anti-Terrorism Law allows punishment for any person who damages private property or commits crimes under the premise of the Mapuche conflict.

 

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