A leader of one of the main Mapuche militias has called for “organize armed resistance” in southern Chile. The call is a response to the government’s plan to intensify controls in the so-called Macrozona Sur. The proposed measures include sending military forces back to the zone.
Héctor Llaitul, leader of the Mapuche resistance group Arauco Malleco Coordinator (CAM), called upon his people “to prepare the forces and organize armed resistance, for autonomy, for the territory” on Wednesday, May 11. The call to arms was made as the Boric administration seeks approval in Congress for an emergency measure that would replace the State of Exception.
Under the current State of Exception, military forces are deployed to safeguard critical infrastructure. The government seeks to reinstate the measure with a so-called “Intermediate State.” Secretary General of the Presidency Giorgio Jackson emphasized that the rights of all people would be respected but acknowledged that military deployment is part of the bill, despite the fact Boric campaigned on a platform of demilitarizing southern Chile.
The government seeks broad support for the new bill, as arson attacks on lumber trucks and equipment continue to occur in the south. In protest of the ongoing violence, trucker unions and lumber workers have been striking and blocking roads for several days now. “We must be reassured that we are going to have expedited routes, which will not be cut or interrupted, and that these will be safe routes,” Jackson said.
As far as CAM is concerned, however, the emergency measure isn’t any different from the State of Exception, its leader Llaitul said. “It is nothing more than a new State of Exception,” he wrote on social media. “It is the full expression of the military dictatorship that the Mapuche have always suffered.” Earlier that same day, his movement claimed responsibility for an arson attack that left at least five trucks destroyed in Mulchén.
Parliamentarian Matías Walker (DC), part of the Infrastructure Committee, responded, saying “we are not going to accept threats or intimidation from CAM or any other organization. We are not going to inhibit ourselves from legislating. We are not going to legislate under threats.”
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.