Desalojo de 'okupas' en la isla de Pascua Una familia indígena tomó durante seis meses un hotel para reclamar la propiedad ancestral del terreno
Por orden de un fiscal chileno, la policía militarizada de Carabineros desalojó el domingo a los ocupantes que mantenían tomado desde hace seis meses el lujoso hotel Hanga Roa de Isla de Pascua, como reclamación de la propiedad ancestral del terreno donde este se encuentra, y detuvo a dos mujeres que se resistieron a salir, que posteriormente fueron liberadas. Los ocupantes, de la familia Hito, sostienen que los terrenos les pertenecen desde antes de que Chile tomara posesión de esta isla.
Conocida por sus gigantes de piedra, los moais, esta isla situada en medio del océano Pacífico, a 3.790 kilómetros de Chile continental, que vive del turismo como único sustento, afronta un conflicto de tierras análogo al que tiene el pueblo mapuche con el Estado chileno. Una fuerte presencia policial y la vigilancia del hotel Hanga Roa reflejan esta tensión. Sus habitantes, del pueblo rapa nui, de origen polinésico, que aspiran a recuperar sus tierras y a obtener parte de las ganancias que deja el turismo, iniciaron en 2010 movilizaciones y tomas de oficinas públicas y del hotel.
Tras varios meses con escaso diálogo, durante los cuales la toma paralizó una inversión de 50 millones de dólares para un hotel que cobrará 800 dólares por noche, la respuesta del Gobierno fue el desalojo con la policía militarizada. El año pasado, enfrentamientos entre carabineros y pascuenses dejaron 17 detenidos y varios heridos. La fiscalía los acusa de delitos de usurpación, violación de morada y amenaza y deberán comparecer hoy ante los tribunales en Valparaíso.
El desalojo de los últimos ocupantes del hotel duró 15 minutos y según la policía era necesario para realizar las pesquisas que la fiscalía pidió que fueran practicadas en ese lugar. El intendente regional, Raúl Celis, máxima autoridad del Ejecutivo en la zona y que depende de La Moneda, negó estar relacionado con la acción policial y llamó al diálogo entre las partes. Celis reconoció que con el desalojo "no se soluciona el problema", pero agregó que debería facilitar el diálogo.
Entretanto, la familia Schiess, propietaria del terreno, reparará los daños ocurridos durante la ocupación y reiniciará los trabajos de construcción. La tensión que ocasionaron la toma y el desalojo resultaron ser como un bumerán para todos los actores, porque, salvo en los últimos días, se redujo el flujo turístico, el oxígeno de la isla.
La familia Hito, que ocupaba el hotel, criticó que el desalojo ocurriera un día después de que se difundiera una carta en que un senador estadounidense por Hawai y el delegado de Samoa ante el Senado pedían al presidente, el conservador Sebastián Piñera, que se retire la vigilancia policial y se reduzcan las tensiones en el lugar.
Para la portavoz de esta familia, Marisol Hito, los hechos demuestran que, "claramente, una vez más, el poder económico está sobre el poder judicial", según afirmó. Hito declaró que esto "recién comienza" y advirtió que llegarán hasta las últimas consecuencias para "recuperar nuestras tierras que el Estado chileno nos robó", incluyendo una apelación ante la Corte Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, con sede en Costa Rica.
Hito censuró al Gobierno por emplear la violencia y "hacer creer que acá no ha pasado nada". La familia Hito critica al Estado, porque, afirma, logró mediante engaños y presiones que su abuela analfabeta entregara las tierras, que después se vendieron a particulares de forma ilegal durante la dictadura de Pinochet (1973-1990).
Los isleños acusan al Estado, que tiene la propiedad del 70% de Pascua, de haber usurpado sus tierras. En 2010 también pidieron al Estado que frenara la inmigración de "continentales", como llaman a los chilenos del continente, a un territorio con pocos recursos.
James Anaya, relator especial de la ONU sobre los derechos de los pueblos indígenas, ha planteado al Gobierno su preocupación por la violencia utilizada en desalojos previos y ha pedido que se eviten nuevos desalojos y que haya una excesiva presencia policial en la isla.
Cable que informa sobre el conflicto mapuche
Viera Gallo habla en 2008 sobre el conflicto indígena y reconoce que tienen "legítimas preocupaciones", pero que el suministro de energía es el principal problema del país
Date: 2008-01-31 20:14:00
Source: Embassy Santiago
DE RUEHSG #0098/01 0312014
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
R 312014Z JAN 08
FM AMEMBASSY SANTIAGO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC 2718
INFO RUEHBU/AMEMBASSY BUENOS AIRES 0776
RUEHLP/AMEMBASSY LA PAZ JAN LIMA 5433
C O N F I D E N T I A L SANTIAGO 000098
E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/29/2018
TAGS: PGOV, PHUM, PINR, PREL, SOCI, CI
SUBJECT: INDIGENOUS RIGHTS, SOCIAL ISSUES, ENERGY SHORTAGES
ON MIND OF SEGPRES MINISTER
Classified By: E/Pol Counselor Juan A. Alsace for reasons 1.5 (b) and (d).
1. (C) Secretariat General of the Presidency Minister Viera
Gallo told the Ambassador January 30 that the GOC - and
Chilean society - are only belatedly taking seriously a
growing problem with Chile's indigenous (largely Mapuche)
population, which has never been fully integrated and is
becoming increasingly radicalized. Mapuche alienation and
protest activity could impact on issues such as terrorism,
energy, and development in environmentally sensitive regions.
Chile's energy shortage was the country's "biggest problem"
in the near term, although Chile was also struggling with
issues arising out of modernization and globalization, with
youth and women seeking their place in an evolving Chilean
society. End summary.
2. (U) Ambassador Simons paid a courtesy call January 30 on Minister of the Secretariat General of the Presidency (SEGPRES) Jose Antonio Viera-Gallo, whose ministry is responsible for coordinating relations between the Presidency and three sets of key political actors: the four parties of the center-left governing Concertacion coalition, the center-right opposition, and the Congress. The Ambassador was accompanied by E/Pol Counselor.
An Increasingly Vocal Indigenous Population
3. (C) After opening pleasantries - Viera Gallo noted that since Chile's return to democracy relations with the U.S. have been very good across the board - the Minister was briefly interrupted by two phone calls. The second was from President Bachelet and the short conversation (topic unclear) was notable for its formality, with no apparent warmth, (Comment: This tracks with the common view that Veira-Gallo, a political operative, was brought into the cabinet as a "fixer" and not because he is in Bachelet's inner circle.)
The first call was from Archbishop Goic, who has been serving as an intermediary between the GOC and hunger-striker Patricia Troncoso, who has been protesting her incarceration, the result of her involvement in the torching of a rural farm, located on land that the Mapuche indigenous population claim was stolen from them. The accord has been front page news and the government has taken some heat for bowing to Troncoso's demands, but also for failing to take seriously the "Mapuche issue." As a result, Bachelet recently named a "Presidential Commissioner" to head a panel to review how the GOC is dealing with the long-simmering complaints of the indigenous population (septel).
4. (C) Viera-Gallo agreed with E/Pol Counselor that the issue cut across several lines, including terrorism, energy, and development. The Minister noted that several Mapuche had ties to the Basques, including possibly to the ETA. They are involved in protests against construction of dams that would produce hydro-electric power, impacting Chile's energy needs. Mapuche are linked to NGO's opposed to development in lands both claimed by the Mapuche and which are also environmentally sensitive. Nonetheless, Viera-Gallo
continued, the Mapuche have legitimate concerns. Both moderates and extremists, with some justification, view themselves as having been "mistreated by Chile." While essentially a conservative people ("they vote for the right") they also have respect for the environment and are a matriarchical society. Many are well-educated with strong ties to similar indigenous or ethnic groups, including in Europe. There is developing a significant divide between young, more radical Mapuche, and older leaders who have demands but will accept accommodation within the Chilean state. The younger leadership seeks a separate Mapuche entity.
5. (C) Viera-Gallo, who clearly evidenced sympathy for the Mapuche, said they had not been integrated "at all" into Chilean society. Chileans, especially the upper class which identifies with Chile's European pretensions, have to accept that the Mapuche, and other smaller indigenous groups, are also a part of Chile's make-up. The Mapuche have have made some inroads in this respect, reaching out successfully to younger non-Mapuche Chileans sympathetic to their cause. The Catholic Church is also increasingly involved with indigenous concerns.
An Energy Deficit
6. (SBU) Viera-Gallo didn't hesitate when asked by the Ambassador to enumerate the administration's challenges: "Energy is our biggest problem." Domestic production and supply from outside sources, such as Argentina, have not kept pace with surging economic growth. Chile will face "serious restrictions" in the upcoming winter months. Construction of dams (hydro) is critical but faces obstacles from indigenous
and environmental groups. The potential for developing geothermal power in Chile's north ("we are talking to the Italians") is also hostage to indigenous groups in that region, who are concerned about associated water rights and shortages. Viera-Gallo said prospects would improve in 2009, when LNG plant facilities would come on line. The Ambassador noted that President Bachelet had asked him, at presentation of credentials, to find ways to enhance U.S.-Chile cooperation on energy. He had met across a wide range of private and public energy experts and policymakers during his first six weeks in country and would return to Washington in February to work on next steps.
The Challenge of Modernization
7. (SBU) Turning to other challenges facing Chile, a reflective Viera-Gallo worried about disaffected youth
disengaged from politics, "fatigued" with parliament and political parties, although he stressed this was not yet a crisis. Still, Chileans generally were dealing with the cultural dislocations attendant on modernization, including rampant consumerism ("the mall culture") and a sense that life was overly complicated. Yet all Chileans felt they they had to adapt and keep up, he continued, noting that in his visits to rural areas, he was struck by the modern appliances found even in the most humble homes. Educational levels were on the increase with more college students, but job prospects for those with university degrees poor ("PhD's driving
taxis"). Women are also facing change; as they are increasingly educated they are leaving rural areas behind,
seeking jobs in urban areas. Chile is also welcoming foreign labor for the first time in its history, with large numbers of Peruvians entering the agricultural labor force. These changes are fearful for many in Chilean society. The Ambassador noted that U.S. society continues to face many of the same challenges Viera-Gallo had outlined.
HDTV, IPR, Loss of Majority
8. (SBU) The Ambassador noted pending intellectual property legislation in the Chilean Senate, adding that the Embassy continued to work closely with the GOC and USTR to find ways to address our concerns with the proposed law. He also made a pitch for ATSC, the U.S.-backed digital television standard, noting the lower cost for Chilean consumers. Viera-Gallo agreed it was important for the GOC to make the right choice on digital TV. Asked whether the loss of the governing coalition's working majority in both houses of parliament would affect the administration's ability to pursue its agenda, Viera-Gallo shrugged: "It's not really a problem; Concertacion has rarely had a majority but still worked solutions."
9. (U) Bio Note: Viera-Gallo said he had two daughters living in Brooklyn. The first, thirty years old, is an artist, married to an architect. She has a studio and has exhibited in New York, Los Angeles, and Chile. The second, younger, is a writer, recently divorced from a well known Chilean artist (Ivan Navarro) who, Viera-Gallo lamented jokingly, is "making it big" after the divorce.
10. (C) That much of the meeting was devoted to the Mapuche issue is evidence that Chile, which has long ignored its indigenous population, cannot escape dealing with yet another offshoot of globalization, in this case the rising awareness of the Mapuche that their concerns are similar to those of other indigenous or ethnic minority groups, are at least as legitimate, and need be addressed by the government. The danger lies in radicalization of the issue, potential ties to extremist or even terrorist groups, and the use of violence to push an agenda. Post will be following this issue closely in the near term, including proposing how the USG might be of assistance to the GOC both through intelligence sharing but also promoting dialogue and finding solutions. End comment.
December 17, 2010
Wikileaks: US Cables Prove Peaceful Nature of the Struggle by Mapuche Indigenous.
According to some US diplomatic cables, the struggle of the Mapuche for their rights is mostly non-violent, despite the attempts of the Chilean authorities, to paint their campaign in a negative light.
The "increasingly radicalized" Mapuche Indians in Chile became a growing domestic concern for the government of former President Michelle Bachelet, new leaked U.S. diplomatic cables show, prompting Chile at one point to seek help from the United States in investigating whether the indigenous group was receiving funding from "foreign terrorist groups and/or Venezuela."
In a batch of cables from the U.S. Embassy in Santiago released by WikiLeaks and published this week by several websites, the "Mapuche situation" and "Mapuche conflict" clearly worry Chile's government. The Mapuche have sought greater autonomy in recent years over what are claimed as ancestral lands in the Araucania region, about 400 miles south of the capital.
The "low-level conflict" has sometimes resulted in protests, violent confrontations and small sabotage-like attacks against the government and private landowners, the cables said. The indigenous group, Chile's largest, remains mostly marginalized in the broader society.
One leaked cable, dated February 2008, tells of a meeting between U.S. Ambassador Paul Simons and Bachelet's interior minister, Edmundo Perez Yoma, in which officials discussed the possibility that the Mapuche might be receiving aid from the government of Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez, or the FARC guerrilla army in Colombia, or even the ETA, the Basque separatist group in Spain.
"While intelligence is unclear, funding of the Mapuche by the FARC 'and Chavez' is possible although, he noted, he wasn't sure some of the monies aren't being funneled off to other activities since Mapuche radicals remain 'weak and disorganized,' " said the cable, referring to the former interior minister.
Other cables so far released from the U.S. Embassy in Santiago do not reveal whether any official conclusion was reached on the possibility of outside aid reaching the Mapuche. Criticism is directed in one cable at the Bachelet administration for being "slow to focus on indigenous issues."
On Tuesday, as the cables' revelations circulated in Chile's political world, Mapuche leader Aucan Huilcaman told the newspaper La Tercera that Bachelet's leftist coalition government "never wanted to solve the Mapuche problem, never."
At least three Mapuche activists have been killed in confrontations with authorities, the cables reported, but one document also argued that Chile's press had "sensationalized" the conflict. The cable, titled "Myth vs. Reality in Chile's Mapuche Conflict" and sent to Washington more than a year after the cable about funding, said that nonviolent forms of protest in the Mapuche region are far more common than incidents of violence.
"Opposition politicians have alleged links between the Mapuche and foreign terrorist organizations FARC and ETA, but government officials downplay these connections as mere 'guerrilla tourism'," the cable said.
Yet during a string of reported confrontations in 2009, the same cable said, then-opposition presidential candidate Sebastian Pinera declared that Araucania was "in flames." Since taking office as the first non-leftist president since the Pinochet dictatorship ended in 1990, Pinera has promised talks to settle the Mapuche conflict.
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