Mapuche Community Alleges Forgery of Signature on Document of Support for Hydroelectric Project

Representatives from the Mapuche community of Curarrehue filed a complaint with prosecutors alleging that at least one signature was forged on a document of support for a hydroelectric dam project. The project seeks to build a dam on the Trancura River which will affect the Curraehue community, among others. The allegation states that the meeting where the signature allegedly took place was believed to be an informational meeting and nothing intended to demonstrate official support. Additionally, the complaint alleges that at least one signature — that of Benita Panguilef — was clearly forged as Panguilef is not literate. The prosecutor’s office received the complaint and says it will seek to determine what occurred.

The meeting where the alleged forgery took place occurred in June 2010.  At that time, a proposal for for a hydroelectric dam project on the Trancura River was being debated. Many Mapuche communities opposed the project due to the environmental impact it would have.  At the time there were also allegations made that CONDAI (the Chilean government’s Indigenous development corporation) was not acting to protect the interests of Indigenous peoples by demanding consultation for the project under ILO Convention 169.

The meeting in question was, according to community members, believed to be an informational meeting and nothing else. Both the Community’s president, Camilo Coñuequir, and lonko (traditional leader) have referred to the meeting as “secret and illegitimate” and are hoping to have the signed document from that meeting declared invalid. Specifically, the Community leaders allege wrongdoings on the part of Alcalde Héctor Carrasco Ruiz.

The prosecutor’s office stated that they will begin their investigation by first determining whether Panguilef’s signature is, in fact, a forgery.  If that turns out to be the case, then they stated that they would proceed by determining who was involved and whether other acts of forgery occurred.

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Posted in: Chile, Mapuche
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