Chile passes Tibet resolution, Mapuche heartened
Chile's lower-house Chamber of Deputies April 17 approved a resolution calling upon Exterior Minister Alejandro Foxley to "condemn the violence and repression in Tibet and request that the Government of China open direct conversations with the Dalai Lama to find a peaceful solution" to the conflict. It passed 35-8, with one abstention. (MapuchExpress, April 19) The government of President Michele Bachelet opposed the resolution. Her spokesman to the National Congress, Presidency Minister José Antonio Viera Gallo, warned lawmakers the move could invite similar criticisms of their own country. Noting outstanding conflicts with indigenous peoples in Chile's south, he said: "I don't know if we would like it if a foreign parliament opined on situations like that of the Mapuche." The Chilean pro-indigenous website MapuchExpress commented: "The government of Bachelet and Viera Gallo know that they have their own Mapcuhe Tibet."
First Nations leaders in Canada have threatened to launch a Tibet-style protest campaign around the 2010 Vancouver Olympics.