Claiming ancestral lands
A KKK-like group is threatening to kill indigenous Mapuche as part of a pitched battle over land rights.
By Pascale Bonnefoy
- GlobalPost Published: August 18, 2009 06:41 ET
Updated: August 19, 2009 14:49 ET
SANTIAGO — A Ku Klux Klan-like group believed to be made up of large landowners in southern Chile is vowing to kill as many indigenous Mapuche as it can in retaliation for land occupations by the Mapuche.
In late July, a gun-toting anonymous spokesman for the “Hernan Trizano Commando” announced his group had a stash of weapons and a list of Mapuche leaders it would proceed to assassinate “so they stop messing around with our lands.”
“The main Mapuche leaders are going to disappear from the face of the earth with the dynamite we will put in their belts if they insist on their demands for lands,” said the commando spokesman in a press interview.
Large farmers and industrialists currently hold much of the land that the Mapuche claim as ancestral territories. Frustrated by the slow and inefficient government program that would return some of those lands to them, and feeling rebuffed by the authorities, dozens of Mapuche communities are resorting to simultaneous land takeovers, meeting with fierce police repression.