Friday, October 5, 2012
Werkén of Wente Winkul Mapu: "We are not asking for more political participation, we want a separate State."
October 5, 2012
Daniel Levinao is Werkén(Spokesperson) of the community Wente Winkul Mapu, he is 25 and in this interview describes the harassments to which they have been subjected, the root of the demands of his community and the projections of a youth hungry for justice.
Why opt for a measure like the hunger strike?
We believe it was a racist conviction (against Mapuche prisoners) and manipulated by the government, derived from the security summit that took place in Santiago. We saw the trial up close and saw how police contradicted their statements. So we think it is a discriminatory sentence, racist and manipulated by the government.
Unlike the case of the policeman who was cleared of charges over the death of the community member Jaime Mendoza Collio?
Here it is common knowledge that police officer who killed Jaime put up his bulletproof vest to try to demonstrate that they were shot at, without there being a person in it. They invented a setup, to get away with it and stay free. Not even the expert opinions of the PDI were taken into consideration. Had they taken into consideration the expert opinions of the PDI there would have been a conviction. And now the Court Martial sets him free, at no charge. But, for being Mapuche you receive a sentence of 11 years.
What is the root of the claims of your community?
The Mapuche community Wente Winkul Mapu demands 2,500 hectares of the Chilean State. We have a history that these lands belong to us, because we have the land grants, and above all, there are Kimche (sages) of the community who say they lived in those lands that are now in the hands of some forestry companies and landowners. What we are doing is raising our flag to tell the state that the Mapuche are here to defend our lands and they, what do they? They repress us. In what way? They imprison us, continuous raids, where children result wounded and where women are treated badly, that's the answer that the state and government are giving to meet our demands for land.
The ongoing struggle goes on for 5 consecutive years, starring the 40 families that make up the community.
But, have you exhausted all the regular established institutional channels?
Indeed. We had conversations early on with the then Minister Viera-Gallo, but it came to nothing. We were asked to go to the CONADI, we exhausted all regular channels in which such land should be obtained and we were not heard. The only thing left is to mobilize ourselves and occupy these lands and take territorial control of these lands. And now the government says to deal with these facts, there are armed Mapuche. Here it is not the Mapuche who are armed, we are the owners for hundredths of years of our lands that whether we have to use whatever method to defend our land, we will do so.
Is self defense valid as a political method?
Here the only thing there is, is state terrorism that comes to the communities repressing children, elderly and women.
Is the case of the Wente Winkul Mapu, what are the most serious incidents that have happened in the community?
In the latest raid, all kinds of rights were violated, so that the same Court of Appeals is telling to the police that they acted illegally and arbitrarily. The government is concerned that we have the records of these lands. And in our case the premises are guarded by police. But, they are denying us that we own these lands. No one answers for the wounded and the homes destroyed. In the hospital they do not properly attend us.
How can this be you solved?
By the total return of the disputed lands, that is 2,500 hectares.
What about the Mapuche Nation?
When we speak of Mapuche Nation, our idea is to govern ourselves, to have our own decisions, made from the same communities in which it is the Mapuche Nation that make its own decisions. We are not asking for more political participation, we want a separate state.
Do you suffer threats?
I'm being followed every day, coming to cities, both by police and by civil police. Moreover, it is public knowledge that when the settlers called to arm themselves, those statements were protected by a minister. This is nothing new, it has been so for a long time.
What is the history of your community?
The community Wente Winkul Mapu is born from a need for land since five years. But at the same time we are part of Lof Chequenco, which has been fighting for a long time, even since the dictatorship when the estate was recovered that was of the gentlemen Silva. This comes from a long time ago and even so we have practically no space to develop our cultural activities, our Palin, which is central to our struggle and in everyday life as Mapuche.
How many trials await you now?
There are three trials, of the prison of Angol. There are two sentenced to 11 years and three who are in pretrial detention, to make their trial preparations on September 22.
Are they being subjected to setups or is it slander?
We do not claim setups. We did say that the Court of Appeals declared the actions of the police within communities illegal and arbitrary. They come to your house, without showing any warrant, kicking and throwing away doors. What do I have to do. Defend myself. How I defend myself, I will see to that myself, I will see how I defend myself in my house.
At what point is the fight?
In self-defense. We've been resisting for a long time and it's time to apply self-defense.
Is the term Mapuche "conflict" well put?
For us it is not a conflict. We are reclaiming a land that belongs to us. It is the State with its governments which has the conflict with us.
In what situation are the young Mapuche leaders?
In recent times, in the communities, the rise of young Mapuche leaders is also due to our knowledge. Because of having studied more than the older ones, but always based on that which our ancestors are telling us. Because of not having had an education, of illiteracy, many people were deceived and their land was stolen. We believe we can build a movement in which we will go for the recovery of our territory.
What is the role of the young people?
We suffer a dispossession and we are the young we have to raise awareness that there is a Mapuche territory and it must be defended. For its part, the government's concern is imprisoning the majority of the youths that do not exceed 25 years. Finally the youths is realizing the dispossession that we have experienced as a nation. And today we are proud to be Mapuche and want to recover our territory usurped illegally. by forestry companies.