Tag Archives: Piñera

Two Mapuche Communities Obtain Land Rights After 15 Years

In recent days, the Chilean government, through CONADI (Chile’s Indigenous development corporation) has returned title to lands in two different Mapuche communities. In the Mapuche community of Manuel Levinao (located in the Lautaro commune of the Araucanía region), 250 hectares (~1 square mile) were returned after being purchased by the Chilean government for nearly US$ 1.8 million. Meanwhile, the Mapuche community of Los Maitenes de Rihue (located in the Cañete commune of the Araucanía region) was given land title to a small parcel of land (~.04 square miles) valued at US$ 76,000. This small parcel increased the community’s land holdings to 265.3 hectares (~1.02 square miles), which the Chilean government has been slowly acquiring and returning to the community since 1997. Continue reading

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Chile’s President References “New Deal” with Indigenous Peoples in Annual Address

On May 21st, Chile’s President Piñera gave his annual address in front of Congress for the final time before his term ends. The address is given annually and highlights both accomplishments from the previous year as well as goals for the forthcoming year. In this year’s address (full address in Spanish can be found here), Piñera offerred a few words about Chile’s indigenous groups and his administration’s goals with respect to those peoples. Continue reading

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The Militarisation of Mapuche Regions in Chile (Op-Ed)

Note: Written by Claudio Fuentes. The original Spanish version of this article appeared in Chilean online newspaper El Mostrador. The original English translation of this article first appeared on the Chileno website.

Militarizing Araucanía: A Bad Idea

Is it advisable to militarise Araucanía? Although the Government has not for the moment invoked any state of emergency, it has taken two steps. A decision was made to restrict the freedom of individuals that began with major police roadblocks and involving the armed forces with intelligence work. Indeed, in addition to an increase in the number of police officers, the President announced that police would establish a “special area of control and security in those places that have been most affected by these crimes, so as to establish permanent control daytime and night, both vehicular traffic and the identities of persons travelling in the most affected areas. ” Continue reading

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Piñera Visits Ercilla, Calls Mapuche Hunger Strike “Illegitimate”

On Tuesday, October 16th, President Piñera visited Ercilla and, more generally, the Araucanía Region of Chile. His visit was met with much protest even before his arrival, when Mapuche leaders told the press that Piñera “would not be welcomed” in the region. Despite these statements, Piñera arrived with a heavy police contingent and gave a speech denouncing Mapuche violence and calling the current Mapuche hunger strike “illegitimate and ineffective”. As expected, the Chilean President was met with many protests and his speech was interrupted at times by them. By the end of the day, at least eight Mapuche individuals had been arrested. Continue reading

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President Piñera Announces Plan to Address Mapuche Issues

At 11 a.m. in Santigao on Friday, August 3rd, President Sebastián Piñera announced actions the government would take to address the challenges faced by the Mapuche people. The announcement allowed Piñera to elaborate on his “Development Plan for the Araucanía Region” or “Plan Araucanía” as it is often referred to. Specifically, Piñera announced an initiative to build a multicultural school in Ercilla, five hospitals throughout the region, and to implement a consultation process that conforms with ILO Convention 169. 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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Chamber of Deputies Requests President Piñera to Repeal Decree 124 on Indigenous Consultation

In a vote that took place on Friday, November 18th, Chile’s Chamber of Deputies (the lower house of the Chilean Congress) voted on and passed a resolution requesting the President to repeal Decree 124 on Indigenous consultation. The decision passed easily with 58 votes in favor, one against, and with 14 abstentions. The news is a positive step towards eliminating Decree 124, which has widely been criticized as not complying with international Indigenous rights documents and norms. Continue reading

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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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Mapuche Leaders Criticize the Leadership Change in Indigenous Consultation Process

On Monday, July 18th, President Sebastián Piñera announced some major changes to his Cabinet. Among them was moving Joaquín Lavín from the Ministry of Education to replace Felipe Kast as head of the Ministry of Cooperation and Planning (MIDEPLAN). Lavín’s transfer means that he is now in charge of Chile’s national consultation policy. The transfer was unexpected, and a large number of Mapuche leaders have spoken out against both the general decision to make a major personnel transfer in the middle of a nation-wide consultation process, as well as the decision to put Lavín, specifically, in charge of the process. Continue reading

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