Chile: police kill Mapuche elder

On Aug. 28, two agents of Chile’s militarized Carabineros police, acting without a warrant, raided a Mapuche family’s property in the Bollilco Chico sector of the Nueva Imperial commune, Region IX, allegedly to search for stolen livestock. The family refused to allow the agents to enter their property, and the Carabineros responded by shooting to death Juan Collihuin, a 71-year-old lonko (traditional Mapuche authority), and wounding his sons Juan and Emilio Collihuin. (Argenpress, Sept. 1)

Senator Alejandro Navarro, a supporter of Mapuche rights, has filed a legal claim with the Temuco Military Prosecutor demanding an investigation into the death of Juan Collihuin. The Coordination of Mapuche Territorial Identities (CITEM) and the Research Center for Social Cause Representation (CERCAS) praised Navarro’s action but urged that Chile’s Congress pass a law to stop military courts from having jurisdiction over cases involving civilian victims, since such cases nearly always end in impunity. (Adital, Sept. 1)

On Aug. 25, a large contingent of Carabineros agents attacked the community of Temucuicui, in Ercilla commune, Malleco province, Region IX, just as residents were meeting with Mapuche authorities and foreign visitors to prepare a report about the serious violations of human rights the community has suffered in recent years. The Carabineros entered Temucuicui in three buses, accompanied by a tank, several civilian police vehicles and a prosecutor from the Public Ministry; they claimed to be investigating the theft of livestock nearby in Chacaico. After seeing the community members–men, women and children–taking part in a meeting, the agents began firing tear gas bombs and other projectiles at them. It was the fourth time this year that Carabineros have attacked Temucuicui. The community has filed several court complaints without result. (Argenpress, Sept. 1)

Amnesty International has written to high-level Chilean authorities expressing concern about the repeated attacks on the community. (Adital, Aug. 29)

From Weekly News Update on the Americas, Sept. 3

See our last posts on Chile and the Mapuche struggle.