Update on the Mapuche Struggle Against Plantations in Chile
Recently logging companies have become more aggressive as they have continued to push their way into Mapuche traditional territory. As a result, a bitter clash has arisen, whereby some Mapuche have been labeled “terrorists” by the Chilean government for defending their homeland.
As Hector Llaitul, a Mapuche member, noted in a recent Center for International Policy Report “The Mininco Company along with one of our main adversaries, the hydroelectric company ENDESA, have changed their policy. It’s no longer just the use of violence. They are diversifying the repression: they study the areas where they operate and develop plans (for publicity, courses, etc.) tailored to each one, often financed by the Inter-American Development Bank, in order to create a security rim around their properties. They arm small farmers and hunting and fishing clubs, so they can form vigilance committees, which are legal in Chile, to defend themselves against ‘bad neighbors.’ This is how they try to isolate the people who struggle.”
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Top Right: Logging truck rolls over bridge near Chol Chol (Chile). Many indigenous Mapuche lands are surrounded by eucalyptus and pine plantations. Photo: Langelle/Global Justice Ecology Project