Chile: Indigenous News Briefs for September 9, 2010

Below are links to the various indigenous news stories that were published online in Chile on September 9, 2010.

Mapuche Hunger Strike

As the Mapuche hunger strike reached day 60, the Chilean media had much to report on the strike,  most notably about four Deputies who not only joined the hunger strike themselves (other sources: here, here, and here), but also managed to get thrown out of the Temuco prison when trying to visit the prisoners there (other sources: here, here, and here). They have their reasons for joining the strike, but thus far have been met with mixed reactions–more negative than positive.

Another major source of news on the Mapuche hunger strike came from two religious denominations in Chile–the Catholic Church and the Evangelical Church. The Catholic Church made its position clear on the issue, calling for the branches of the Chilean government to find a way to end the hunger strike. (The actual document published by the Church can be found here.) The Catholic Church, while saying it will continue to facilitate communication where it can, ruled out the possibility of mediating the conflict. President Piñera thanked the Church for their guidance and desire to end the hunger strike.

Meanwhile, the Evangelical Church, following the lead of Bishop Emiliano Soto, has already begun acting as an intermediary between the Mapuche prisoners and the Chilean government. On Thursday, Bishop Soto met with the prisoners in Temuco and then called for Piñera to listen to and take seriously their demands.

In addition to the four Deputies and church officials who controlled much of the news cycle, there were also several articles detailing support for the Mapuche political prisoners both abroad (for instance: here and here) as well as locally (for instance: here, here, and here).

Antiterrorism Law

President Piñera sent a second amendment to the Antiterrorism Law to the Congress today. The text of the amendment was not released and has to go through the Congress before it becomes law, but according to Piñera in relates to four goals: better defining terrorism; strengthening due process for those tried under the law; assure that the penalties are justified for the crimes committed; and improve the State’s capacity to investigate such crimes.

Rapa Nui Update

On Thursday, there was supposed to be a meeting between representatives of the Hito clan (who are responsible for the ongoing occupation of the Hotel Hanga Roa), the Schiess family (who own the hotel), and new Governor Carmen Cardinali, but it was postponed until Monday. Still, Verónica Hito, a spokeswoman for the clan, took the chance to make clear that the goal of the meeting is not to remove the Schiess family from the land, but to find a way that the land can be returned to the Hito clan peacefully. Governor Cardinali stated that she was asked to mediate, but that the problem is not a governmental one, but between the two families.

In other news from the island, Leviante Araki, the President of the Rapa Nui Parliament, threatened to end talks with the Chilean government and begin governing themselves. Araki said that the Rapa Nui demands are simple–they want their land and the ability to govern it.

Government Officials Visit Communities in Arica

The Undersecretary of Regional Development, Miguel Flores, and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Alfredo Moreno, visited the villages of Esquiña, Codpa, Guañacagua and Chitita. At the end of their tour, they took part in a pawa–an Aymara ceremony that blessed the two men’s presence on their land.

Piece of Diaguita History Found

A man near La Serena accidentally found some pre-Columbian artifacts of the Diaguita people. The artifacts were taken to the proper authorities, who are unnamed in the article. Although not mentioned in the article, the Diaguita people–who were only recognized by Chile in 2006–currently make up approximately 1.3% of the indigenous population living in Chile.

See the articles linked in this story and additional Indigenous headlines by clicking here (updated daily).

Posted in: Aymara, Chile, Diaguita, Mapuche, Rapa Nui
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