The Werkén of Temucuicui and Wente Winkul Mapu expose Mapuche reality in Viña del Mar
Posted on September 6, 2012
This Saturday, September 1, the Mapuche Ceremonial Center Relmu Rayen Chod Lafken, located next to the Botanical Gardens in Viña del Mar, was visited by two important and renowned werkén coming from the south of the country: Daniel Melinao and Jaime Huenchullán. After an open lunch, and after playing palín listening to music against the repression of the indigenous peoples, they spoke with the townspeople about the stage currently faced by the mobilized Mapuche people.
By Karina Flores
Source: Invisible City
Today this community demands 2,500 hectares that are held by forestry enterprises and individuals. "How does the government respond, with a clear history of these lands belonging to our people because it belonged to our ancestors, Melinao asked, then answered: "The first thing the state does is repress and imprison us." In fact, as noted, today five community members are in the prison of Angol, three of them awaiting trial and two sentenced to 11 ½ years in prison on charges of attempted murder against police.
Suspiciously, Melinao uncovered: "It was police who testified before the judges and they did not show any paper, antecedents or medical paper showing that they had even a scratch, pellet wound or whatever. We believe it is a strategy of the prosecution, because neither their protected witnesses nor the use of the Anti-Terrorism Act are paying off for them. Now they use police officers, they arm setups and go to testify later before judges who think they do not lie, but what they speak are pure lies." said Daniel, about the situation of his imprisoned community members, who this September 4th fulfill nine days on hunger strike to demand the reduction of their sentence, which they consider racist and discriminatory.
"As Mapuche we will continue to fight, a conviction, a death, that does not mean we're going to step down. We will continue until recovering the tiniest bit of land that today the forestry companies and multinationals are holding, stolen from us." said the Werkén of Ercilla.
In turn, Jaime Huenchullán, member of the also violated Autonomous Community Temucuicui, referred to the dispossession of their lands. "It was in a violent manner and through deception, by fraudulent legislation, that our community was the subject-like many others-of land usurpation," he denounced, while stressing that this is why his grandparents, parents and children today defend and reclaim what was taken from them by the state, declared state-property and given to international corporations.
He also corroborated Melinao's words about the violence they suffer. "We also have had to live through imprisonment, persecution, harassment, intimidation, daily provocation made primarily by private individuals, accompanied by military police, sent by the government." stated one who is familiar with this reality, after being accused of several attacks against businessman-farmer René Urban, what meant that he had to go into hiding and later being arrested.
Huenchullán also emphasized the historic resolution that only days ago acquitted eight members of his community in the trial for the alleged theft of a toll in Quino, near Temuco. The Mapuche group, however, had to spend two years in jail. "There is a prepared collusion from the government, the police, prosecutors, employers, the media of the area to raise a campaign to demonize our struggle, to show society that we are violent," said the community member, adding: "Here the only violent ones, the only ones who have stolen, the only ones who have killed, are the state, its policies and all its institutions."