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Sebastián Piñera sends the Armed Forces to “the red zone” of the Mapuche conflict in Chile | International


The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, announces the state of exception in the regions of Araucanía and Bío Bío, this October 12 from the La Moneda palace.
The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, announces the state of exception in the regions of Araucanía and Bío Bío, this October 12 from the La Moneda palace.Esteban Felix (AP)

It is one of the main underlying problems currently facing Chile: the conflict in Araucanía, marked decades ago by the struggle of the Mapuche people for their ancestral lands, but which in recent years has increased in levels of violence, in part due to the appearance of other phenomena, such as the theft of wood from forestry companies. President Sebastián Piñera declared on Tuesday a state of constitutional exception in areas of Araucanía and Biobío “to deal with terrorism, drug trafficking and organized crime that has taken root in those territories with better instruments,” he said to justify his decision. .

“In no case is it directed against a people or group of citizens,” said the Head of State, who referred to “the serious alteration of public order.” It does so precisely when on October 1, the constitutional state of exception of catastrophe in force due to the pandemic in the entire territory since March 2020 ceased to govern.

The areas that will have a military presence are the provinces of Biobío and Arauco in the Biobío region, and the provinces of Malleco and Cautín, in the La Araucanía region. Piñera recalled that these serious events “have claimed the lives of innocent people and members of the Carabineros and Investigative Police.” The president spoke of the attacks and threats against authorities, such as prosecutors from the Public Ministry and members of the Judiciary. “These violent events have also destroyed and burned houses, churches, facilities and goods for industrial, agricultural, commercial and tourist activities and public infrastructure,” described the president, whose second term ends in March 2022. Piñera added that the attacks have prevented the execution of court orders by the police, “which have been resisted through the use of violence and the use of high-caliber firearms, including weapons of war,” as has happened in recent months.

The last victim was a 49-year-old man. He died on October 3, after 14 days seriously hospitalized after an intentional fire in his home that left him with 40% of his body burned. “We do not want to have more deaths, we do not want more people injured, more injured. We do not want the State to continue giving equivocal signals, ”lamented the national coordinator of the South Macrozone, Pablo Urquízar, a few days ago. “The police, the Public Ministry, the Government are not enough. A perspective and collaboration of all the powers of the State is needed ”, assured the government delegate whose mission is to coordinate to confront the escalation of violence.

The constitutional state of emergency of exception contemplates the appointment of heads of National Defense and will last for 15 days, extendable for another 15 days, in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution and the law. The Armed Forces must collaborate, but not replace the Forces of Order and Security (Carabineros and the Investigative Police), “so they will not be able to participate autonomously and directly in operations of a police nature,” said Piñera.

The president of the constitutional convention that drafts a new Magna Carta, Elisa Loncon, a Mapuche academic, described the establishment of a state of emergency as “worrying”. “What citizens need here are political solutions, they are solutions based on culture, solutions around carrying out economic processes that allow overcoming the poverty that affects the communities,” said Loncon, who criticized that the measure had been announced. this October 12, when the Mapuche people commemorate the Indigenous resistance Day. “It is the day that we cannot celebrate, because it is when the genocide began,” criticized the leader of the Chilean constituent assembly.

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In parallel, the web Werkén Newss, which disseminates the statements of the Coordinadora Arauco Malleco – a Mapuche political-military organization of an indigenous and ethnic nationalist character, which was born at the end of the nineties – announced this Tuesday that the “Mapuche combat groups of the Meli Wixan Mapu [cosmovisión mapuche] they are preparing to face the State of Emergency decreed by the Government ”.

At the beginning of the current Administration, Piñera carried out a profound plan in Araucanía, in charge of his current Minister of Public Works, Alfredo Moreno. But the murder of the young Mapuche Camilo Catrillanca by a police shot on November 18, 2018, in the Mapuche community of Temucuicui, cut off dialogues with the government and private parties.

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