Monthly Archives: June 2013

Argentina: Pope Francis Meets with Qom (Toba) Leader

On Monday, June 24, 2013, Pope Francis spent 45 minutes meeting and talking with the leader of the Qom community, Félix Diaz about his community’s struggles to have their rights recognized. During the interaction, Diaz discussed the plight of his people and the unwillingness of both the local and national governments to engage in dialogue with the Qom about their land rights. Additionally, according to Diaz, the Qom leader made certain to spend some time discussing the challenges that all Indigenous peoples throughout Argentina and Latin America face so that the Pope could better understand Indigenous struggles. Continue reading

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Chilean Government Tests “Ethnic Patrols” Near Temuco

On Wednesday, May 29th, the Chilean police force unveiled a test project designed to improve relations between the police force and the Mapuche people — a relationship that, in certain parts of Chile, has involved significant amounts of violence. The project involves the use of “ethnic patrols,” which consist of trained police officers of Mapuche ethnicity who speak Mapuzungun (the Mapuche language). These patrols will also utilize specially-painted vehicles. Continue reading

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Pascua Lama Gold Mine Likely 1-2 Years Away from Opening

The Pascua Lama gold mine — owned by Barrick Gold — was ordered shut down earlier this year when a Diaguita community successfully challenged the mine’s environmental record in Chilean court. Ultimately, the company was fined US$16 million and ordered to resolve dozens of environmental issues. Today, in an interview with Reuters, Chile’s environmental regulator said that the infrastructure needed to resolve the issues could take up to two years to get in place. Even so, Chilean President Piñera publicly stated on May 30th, that he hopes the mine will one day operate again.

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