The Huilliche Community of Lago Todos los Santos rejected the Chilean government’s recent announcement that it is accepting private bids for tourism projects in Vicente Pérez Rosales National Park located in southern Chile. The Community has publicly stated that the proposed projects are going to have a detrimental effect on their community, which means consultation should have occurred in accordance with ILO Convention 169, and that no such consultation process occurred.
The toursim project in question was formally announced by the government on Thursday, September 1st. The plan includes thirteen projects throughout the park, including one related to Petrohué Falls. Petrohué Falls is a waterfall whose ownership was heavily litigated more than a decade ago when a prominent businessman claimed to own the land. Ultimately, the courts granted the land to the state. And now, along with other parts of the park, the government is accepting bids at these sites for tourist initiatives.
Under ILO Convention 169, which Chile ratified in 2008, any government projects that may affect Indigenous peoples in a way that differs from the general population, are subject to a consultation process. That consultation process must include good-faith, meaning that both sides must come in with a willingness to change their positions. Thus far, the Government’s plans for increasing tourism to the park, as well as the decision to accept bids have not been subjected to the consultation process.