Category Archives: Aymara

Aymara Culture Protects Their Children from Psychological Distress

A team of Chilean researchers has recently published a report on the mental health of Aymara schoolchildren in Northern Chile, suggesting that involvement with their culture may act as a protective factor against psychological distress, including anxiety and hopelessness. Continue reading

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Chile’s “Official” Indigenous Population More than Doubles with New Census Results

Last week, the Chilean government released the results of its 2012 Census efforts. The data collected on Indigenous peoples living in Chile for the Census was substantial. Specifically, the information collected indicated that there are more than 1.7 million people living in Chile who identify as Indigenous. As a percentage of the population, Indigenous people living in Chile now officially account for over 10% of the total population with more than 1/3 of all Indigenous peoples living in the nation’s capital, Santiago.  Both the raw number of Indigenous people and the percentage of the total population numbers are substantially higher than those collected in 2002. Continue reading

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Aymara Woman Likely to be First Indigenous Person Pardoned in Chile

Last week multiple Chilean news sources reported that Garbeila Blas, an Aymara woman sentenced to twelve years for the death of her son, is likely to be pardoned by President Piñera in the upcoming weeks. As it stands now, Chile’s Comptroller General’s office is reviewing the case and has to sign off on the President’s decision before it can become official. Since the news broke, Blas’s attorney has called for an immediate pardon and release of her client citing due process and human rights violations in her initial conviction. If the pardon is realized, it will be Chile’s first pardon of an indigenous person. Continue reading

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Court Orders Exploratory Drilling Halted Until Consultation with Aymara Community Occurs

On Friday, March 30th, the Chilean Supreme Court decided their second case in a month where they ordered consultation with Indigenous peoples. The case came out of northern Chile where Aymara communities sought to stop prospective drilling occurring on their territories. Ultimately, the Court ordered the company Compañía Paguanta S.A. to halt its actions until an environmental impact study is performed and the Aymara people are consulted as is required by ILO Convention 169. Continue reading

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Chilean Senate Urges Executive Branch to Consult with Aymara, Kawashkar Peoples

According to a Chilean Senate press release dated January 6th, the Senate has voted twice in recent days to request the President to consult with specific Indigenous communities within Chile. One vote requested that the President consult with the Kawashkar people over coastal zoning that is to take place in and around their community, and the other vote related to various environmental regulations that could affect water rights and land use for some Aymara communities. The votes are the topic of our latest column for I Love Chile News, which can be read here.

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Chilean Deputies Ask President to Pardon Aymara Woman on Cultural Grounds

On Friday, October 14th, the Chilean Chamber of Deputies (equivalent to the U.S. House of Representatives) voted to ask President Piñera to pardon Gabriela Blas, an Aymara woman who was sentenced to 12 years in prison for the accidental death of her son. The draft agreement was brought to the floor by Deputy Orlando Vargas (PPD) and received 54 votes in favor as well as one abstention. The agreement not only requested a pardon, but provided legal arguments to support such a decision. Continue reading

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Deputies Ask Piñera to Pardon Aymara Woman Citing ILO Convention 169

Last week (August 2nd) marked the fourth anniversary of the day that Gabriel Blas, a 28-year-old Aymara woman, was arrested for losing her 3-year-old son. Blas was ultimately convicted and sentenced to twelve years in prison when her son wandered out of her house and was killed. The case has received some amount of attention both within Chile and internationally as many commentators have noticed the harshness of the penalty and the court’s inability or unwillingness to take into account Aymara cultural practices when rendering its judgement. In response to this case, last week Deputy Orlando Vargas (PPD) and Deputy Adriana Muñoz (PPD) called for the President to pardon Blas. Continue reading

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Supreme Court Rejects Claim Brought by Aymara Communities

Last week, the third chamber of the Chilean Supreme Court issued its ruling in a case which sought to halt the “Catanave mining project” in northern Chile on the basis that the government had not carried out consultation with the affected Aymara indigenous people. The Arica Court of Appeals had rejected the claims of the Aymara communities that filed the suit and the Supreme Court upheld that decision. Continue reading

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Major Aymara Organizations Join the Growing Opposition to UPOV 91

On Wednesday, June 15th, leaders from both the Aymara Autonomous Council (Consejo Autónomo Aymara) and the National Aymara Council (Consejo Nacional Aymara) expressed their opposition to UPOV 91 — the International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants, which essentially gives new rights to the “breeders” of new seed variants. The Aymara organizations took their concerns to the Chilean Constitutional Court, which had invited commentary on the Convention and its effects last week. The Court, at that time, had granted a request made by 17 Chilean Senators to hear the case and decide whether UPOV 91 is legal or not. Continue reading

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Aymara Group Responds to Proposed Mining

On November 14, the Coordinadora Aymara de Defensa de los Recursos Naturales (Aymara Coordination for Natural Resource Defense) issued a declaration concerning proponed mining activities in northern Chile, and particularly the lack of consultation with Indigenous peoples. Continue reading

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