The Mapuche in Chile What Their Resistance Can Teach Us
by Raul Zibechi
"The Mapuche people, their history, their culture, their struggles, have been covered by a veil of silence. The little news that arrives from southern Chile is almost always related to acts of repression and accusations of "terrorism" made by the Chilean state. Weighed down by social and political isolation, faced with either a difficult rural lifestyle or precarious, low-paying jobs in the cities, the Mapuche continue resisting the multinational timber and hydroelectric companies, fighting to keep their traditions alive.
"The Chilean state considers me a criminal for defending my family and my land," points out Waikilaj Cadim Calfunao, 25 years old and a member of the community Juan Paillalef in Araucania, Chile’s 9th Region, in a short letter which he sent to us from the High Security Prison in Santiago, where the guards didn’t allow us to enter for bureaucratic reasons. With minimal differences, other Mapuche prisoners deliver the same message. Jose Huenchunao, one of the founders of the Arauco Malleco Coordinator (CAM), arrested last March 20th, was sentenced to ten years for having taken part in burning forestry machinery."
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