PANGUIPULLI – The escalation of violence in southern Chile has claimed another victim. Emilia Milen Herrera of the Lof Llazcawe Mapuche community was killed in a struggle involving a housing project. Two versions of events are being investigated.
A 25-year-old woman was killed in Riñimapu as a house, communal areas, and the entrance to a private real estate development were set ablaze by what residents described as a “mob,” Radio Cooperativa reported.
The Lof Llazcawe Mapuche community claims that Emilia Milen Herrera was shot in the forehead by private security guards during the incident on February 16. But a resident of the real estate development, Enrique Arrate, said the “mob” fired the shots “and then set fire to the house of one of our neighbors.”
The Mapuche said the private guards were removing two campers from the area, who then asked the indigenous group for help. “The Riñimapu estate had already called the oppressive police force to expel these campers in the afternoon and it was them, guards and police, who authorized them to remain in the area,” according to a Mapuche statement.
“That’s when our peñi and lamnien approached them to [ask them to] respect the agreement with the campers, but in that moment they shot directly at pu peñi and pu lamnien, and our dear Emilia fell.”
Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado said “it is a conflict that unfortunately should not have reached that point, it should not have escalated to this level of violence and there must be clarification as to how it ended with a person being killed.”
Alexander Calsow, a Panguipulli local told Chile Today that “although there is no clarity about the events yet, it does not come as a surprise given the situation in the area with the Mapuche and the new housing development.”
Conflict With Private Property Developments
The Llazcawe Mapuche community is resisting the 19ha development, saying landowners are erecting fences and restricting access to Riñimapu lake and its beaches. In Chile everybody is entitled by law to freely access beaches and shores.
Property owners claim the Mapuche communities have been violent, so they had to hire private security. The investigations police and the public prosecutor are also working on the case.
Francisco is finishing his degree in Journalism at Universidad Finis Terrae in Santiago.