Chile: Mapuche Defendants Acquitted of Terrorism Charges

February 22, 2011

The Tribunal of Cañete decided in favor of the 17 Mapuche accused of various felonies classified as terrorism and related to the theft of wood. Nonetheless, 4 of them were found guilty for the attack against State’s Attorney Mario Elgueta in October, 2008.

Excitement was in the air minutes after the decision of the Cañete Tribunal became known, with the acquittal of 14 Mapuche accused of illegal association and terrorist arson, and another three accused of being part of an organization for the theft of wood in the area of Tirúa.

The president of the Tribunal, Jorge Díaz, indicated that even if it were certain that the acts alleged by the Public Ministry did in fact occur and could be characterized as terrorism, they did not succeed through their evidence and testimonies to establish that the accused participated in the crimes, and therefore they were all absolved. As such, the secret witness used by prosecutor Andrés Cruz was discredited.

Of the 17 accused, only HĂ©ctor Llaitul, RamĂłn Llanquileo, Jonathan Huillical and JosĂ© Huenuche were found guilty of the felonies “Robbery with Intimidation,” “Assault on Authority,” and “Attempted Homicide” against state’s attorney Mario Elgueta and three functionaries of the PDI (Investigative Police), however the tribunal classified these felonies as common rather than terrorist crimes.

What constituted the gravest setback for the prosecutor was the absolution of all 17 comuneros [Mapuche who live in the communities] for the felonies of theft of wood and arson targeting cabins [of tourists or the forestry company], principally in the area of lake Lleu Lleu, in the years 2005-2008.

Immediately, all the absolved comuneros, except those who have cases pending in other tribunals, walked out the door, after spending around 2 years in pretrial detention, and were reunited with their excited family members.

[during the prior two weeks, there have been multiple actions in the Mapuche territories, with an oil well being blockaded, a police eviction of reclaimed lands being repelled, an evicted territory reoccupied, and numerous new land reclamations, in both the Chilean and Argentinean parts of the occupied Mapuche territories—Wallmapu and Puelmapu]



Chile: Mapuche hungerstrike ends for some, continues for others

Mapuche hungerstrike ends for some, continues for others
translated from articles on and

October 2 communique from the prisoners ending their hungerstrike.
Text of offer made by government on October 1.
October 3 communique of prisoners continuing their hungerstrike

[Note from translator: The Mapuche struggle contains many different elements, including those who want justice and autonomy within the Chilean state, and others who want total sovereignty and independence. The communiques translated here represent different perspectives, that are nonetheless united in the same struggle.
For background on the hungerstrike and the Mapuche struggle, see
and…nd-ponies/ ]
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Chile: Mapuche political prisoners call for international solidarity

Mapuche political prisoners located within the colonial borders of Chile are requesting international solidarity. There is a call for action on August 12. The prisoners are on a hunger strike, which has almost reached thirty days.

The Mapuche are an indigenous nation that successfully resisted spanish occupation. Wallmapu—or Mapuche country—extends across the nation-state borders of southern Chile and Argentina. Starting in 1861, their lands were usurped by the Chilean state during a violent process that was called the pacification. Mapuche community members were murdered and jailed by the military, and Mapuche conflict with the state continued throughout the 20 century.

After the military coup in 1973, Mapuche community members were targeted by the Pinochet dictatorship, including an attempt to erase Mapudungun, the Mapuche language. After the end of the dictatorship, there was a strong reemergence of the Mapuche conflict, and the movement became increasingly visible. The conflict seeks autonomy from the Chilean state; the state considers the conflict one of its largest threats. Mapuche communities often have local conflicts with multinational forestry plantations and large farm estates that usurped Mapuche territory.
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