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(en) Chile, Grupo Ecoanarquista gea: The new "cordial" pacification of the Araucanía

Date Sat, 9 Sep 2017 13:36:58 +0300


On 23rd June 2016 Michelle Bachelet, the President of Chile, revealed her new "Plan of Recognition and Development of Araucania", apologised for "having failed as a country", and for the "horrors and errors" committed by the Chilean state against indigenous peoples. However, beyond this late recognition, in the aftermath of her second government and after having driven the criminalisation of the Mapuche with the application of the "anti-terrorist law" in the zone where they live, we think it is necessary that we pause in order to understand what the Government is really intending. ---- This plan tries to respond to that which the media have dubbed the "Mapuche conflict", a terminology that subtly criminalises the cause of the Mapuche. In reality it revolves around the "occupation of Wallmapu", of the occupation of the territory that historically belonged to the Mapuche. According to the historian and investigator of the Observatory
of Indigenous Rights, Martin Correa: "When the Mapuche communities raise
the point: ‘these lands are ours, we never sold these lands', it is the
truth. These lands were legally usurped, but not legitimiately by the
Chilean state. And there is a continuity of this usurpation and the
repression(...) We are talking about four generations of repression, of
usurpation and of the death of those that the Chilean state does not
want to take over".

There has been a recent intensification of raids in Mapuche communities,
with children and adults injured, the increase in policing in the zone
and its "militarisation". The ANI (National Intelligence Agency) and the
Armed Forces work together develop a joint anti-terrorist intervention
strategy, and the permanent threat of applying a "state of
constitutional exception" decree, that will involve further restriction
of the Human Rights of the Mapuche communities and to provide the Army
with control of the zone ...In other words, once more the same policy that
has been applied for decades in order to try to subdue the conflict,
with blood and bullets.

None of these problems are addressed by the ambitious "Plan of
Recognition and Development of Araucania" that the President now claims
puts an end to the conflict. The "anti-terrorist" policy driven by the
government was not addressed in her message so we can expect that what
follows in parallel to the plan recently announced, invalidates it as a
result and condemns it to failure. In other words, for the television
cameras there is a soft-handed "cordial" offer, and for the Mapuche, the
stick if they do not accept the plan that is offered to them.

What remains clear in the government plan is that it will initiate a
process of a new institutionalisation of the conflict, with the
objective of prosecuting the Mapuche and rendering them invisible.

Although the constitutional process that intended a new Constitution for
Chile has failed, the Government insists now in Wallmapu, on driving
forward the implementation of an "Indigineous Constituent process". This
process above all has not been asked for by the Mapuche communities nor
responds to their cultural horizon of conflict resolution. It is a
strange component of the plan which will be an experiment and that of
course will not respond to the true aspirations that the people have.

Apart from the creation of an onerous new bureaucratic institutional
apparatus (ministries, institutes, funding, studies, subsidies,
investments, etc, etc.), the intention is to drive "productive
development" in the Mapuche zone. This is the magic wand that
neo-liberal governments use in order to give a "solution" to poverty.
Because, despite the speeches, the Mapuche are far from being treated as
members of a nation, of a social group with their own motivations and
complexities, and instead will be treated as "vulnerable families", with
all the evangelical and capitalist neoliberal commandments that "solves"
all of the afflictions of "the poor" applied to them. This, without
considering that the Mapuche are not nor have ever been a capitalist
people, that accumulate riches, trade or "undertake" through small and
medium sized (SME) businesses as the technocrats of social development
like to categorize.

A relevant point in the plan that merits a mention is this part:

"CORFO (The Corporation of Chilean Advancement) will design a Forestry
Fund, that will begin to work in the second half of this year, for the
planting, management and operation of indigenous plots suitable for
forestry that the owners, the communities wish to allocate to this end".
Neither with the forest fires of last summer, where the combustibility
of the monocultures of pine and eucalyptus remained evident, nor with
all the complaints that the Mapuche make due to the drought and
destruction that these plantations cause in their communities, does the
governement rectify its continued intent to benefit these crop types
which are so damaging for the Mapuche and farming communities, and for
the enviroment.

Finally, as a finishing touch, the plan considers the implementation of
a "Policy for the protection and the support to all the victims of
violence in the Region", a strange entity that seeks to leave everyone
alone; above all the Christian Democrats and the right. As a result, the
government aims to deliver new subsidies to the timber industry and big
businesses, as a form of appeasing their demands after calming the
"political violence" as alluded to by the SOFOFA (Manufacturers'
Association) representative of the businesses, the local administrators
of the transnationals.

Just as over 100 years ago the Chilean state tried a "pacification of
Araucania" by means of war and occupation by foreign colonists, today it
is by means of a more "cordial" nature but no less spurious, attempting
the cultural assimilation of the Mapuche in the "vulnerable families"
category, a brutal "help program" that is used for the large opressed
and exploited mass of multicultural Chilean nationals.

Author information
René Cumplido Cáceres
Grupo Ecoanarquista (GEA), región chilena

https://www.wri-irg.org/en/story/2017/new-cordial-pacification-araucania
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