Chile’s Secretary of State, Cristián Larroulet, announced on Friday, October 21st, that the Government is going to invest more than US$ 2o million into Mapuche communities. The announcement stated that the money would all be invested by the end of 2010, and will focus on four main areas: (1) development through INDAP (Institute of Agricultural Development); (2) road construction and improvement, particularly to rural communities; (3) employment training programs; and (4) a neighborhood improvement program.
The announcement came during the second round table discussions held between government officials and Mapuche community leaders at Ñielol Hill– discussions that the government started last month to address a variety of Mapuche concerns. These discussions have been met with mixed reactions by Mapuche leaders. For instance, the prisoners who had been on hunger strike have refused to participate in the sessions, and the Consejo de Todas las Tierras (Council of All Lands) has criticized the meetings for the Government’s refusal to discuss autonomy and land issues at them. Despite these criticisms, the next round table discussion will still take place in late November.