Argentina: indigenous summit in Buenos Aires

Indigenous leaders from across Argentina's 17 provinces met in Buenos Aires on May 27-9 to coordinate resistance to dispossession from their ancestral lands by interests of fracking, mining, hydroelectric development and soy cultivation. The First National Summit of Indigenous Peoples was called by the inter-ethnic association QOPIWINI, which since February has been maintining a protest encampment in in downtown Buenos Aires to oppose land-grabs in indigenous territories across the country. The summit was especially called to respond to a recent wave of violent attacks on indigenous protesters—including a Molotov cocktail hurled at the QOPIWINI camp by unknown assailants on April 24.

QOPIWINI—an alliance of the Qom, Pilaga, Wichi and Nivacle indigenous peoples—also opposed the criminalization of resistance movements. Especially highlighted was the case of Relmu Ñamku, a leader of the Mapuche community of Winkul Newen in Neuquén province who is facing life imprisonment under nder Argentina's new anti-terrorism law. The charges stem from a December 2012 incident, in which a court officer accompanied by some hundred police officers and representatives of Apache Corporation arrived to deliver an eviction notice to the community. Residents responded by blocking the roads and hurling stones, injuring the court officer. Ñamku was accused of attempted murder. (Intercontinental Cry, June 3; Notas, Argentina, May 29; Adital, May 13; Notas, April 24)