News concerning the delicate situation on Easter Island (see original posts here, here, and here) has been scarce over the last couple of weeks. It does appear that the issues raise by Rapa Nui families remain unresolved, and President Piñera has yet to announce a replacement governor for the island following Pedro Edmund Paoa’s resignation in the midst of the controversy.
On Friday, August 20, Senator Ricardo Lagos Weber (Party for Democracy), from the Sexta Circunscripción de la Región de Valparaíso Costa, met with the Sub-Secretary for Regional Development, Miguel Flores, requesting that discussions aimed at resolving the issue be accelerated. In comments following the meeting, Lagos Weber indicated that the Government is creating a working group to address issues surrounding ancestral lands, legislative projects concerning Easter Island, and migration.
In the interim, police presence on Easter Island has increased since the land takeovers began. Noting that the demonstrations have remained peaceful, government officials highlighted the precautionary nature of the increase in the number of police officers in order to maintain order and security.
Additionally, the Rapa Nui Parliament, which has thus far been the main Rapa Nui organization backing the demonstrations and the only one to express a desire for secession from Chile, drafted a letter to be sent to both President Piñera and the Pacific Forum, with the aim of formalizing the island’s incorporation into Oceania. The President of the Rapa Nui Parliament, Leviante Araki, indicated that the working groups announced by the Government have not yet begun, and that the Rapa Nui people ultimately seek the Government’s observance of an 1888 treaty that requires the Government to respect the investiture of the Rapa Nui people. The Regional Intendent, Raúl Celis, maintains that the position adopted by the Rapa Nui Parliament does not represent the feelings of the majority of Rapa Nui on Easter Island.