By Carlos Aznárez, Resumen Latinoamericano, January 12, 2024
There are countries where double standards are part of the norm when dealing with political issues, or even worse, with human rights. On the one hand, intermediate officials, ministers and even presidents will hypocritically spout endlessly about their deep concern about humanitarian concepts, to project an image abroad. This is precisely what is happening in Chile presided over by Gabriel Boric, where the Mapuche people are harshly repressed, their lands continue to be subjugated and stolen, and their most prominent activists suffer in prison the consequences for standing up to this new repressive generation, just as it has been for more than five centuries.
While the converted “progressive” Boric says he sympathizes with Gaza in the genocide practiced by his colleague Netanyahu against the Palestinian people, he himself, with a high dose of hypocrisy, not only does not care about the fate of the 15 fighters of the Arauco Malleco Coordination (CAM), who have already completed 60 days of a hunger strike, demanding the overturn of a flawed trial, but Boric continues to accuse them of being “terrorists”. This is based on the results of these now typical “sham trials”, which we know all too well from their application in other countries of the continent, where before the hearings of indigenous freedom fighters begin, it is already known that they are going to be condemned.
Currently, in their claim, the Mapuche political prisoners of the CAM are also demanding dignified prison conditions, something that in countries that boast of being democratic that it should come naturally to, but the prisons of the Chilean occupier are authentic dungeons for those who were natural owners of their lands before the arrival of the old and new conquerors. And as a third demand, the detainees express their repudiation of territorial militarization and their defense of the recovery of the lands of which they were dispossessed.
The case of lonco Héctor Llaitul, his son and 13 other fighters, who are currently suffering the harsh physical consequences of not eating for two months, continues to be a stigma from which all those who in the name of Chile’s ruling progressivism not only allow the abuses imposed by its prison system, but continue to accentuate repressive policies, will not be able to easily escape. Cases such as that of the prisoner Estéban Henriquez, hospitalized in a hospital in a serious state of malnutrition, is just one example of this type of extermination policies applied with total impunity.
In the same way, in other similar prisons, dozens of Mapuche prisoners are there because they put their bodies on the ground to claim the defense of their own dignity, or demanded at the same time the end of the persecution of their families where they live that is being raided and destroyed. Or when they protest against the demonization of the ancestral language with which they communicate and multiple other outrages, which of course are not explained in the hegemonic media.
This is another habitual tool used by the Chilean system of oppression, that of generating a wall of censorship with respect to what happens in the south, both of the resistance and rebellion of the Mapuche people and of the matrices of repression necessary to accentuate colonization, and thus also to favor the advance of the multinational corporations that devastate the conquered territory in complicity with the government.
The flagrant case of the 15 prisoners of the CAM speaks for itself that in the face of the imposed media silence, the campaign of threats and punishment added to the relatives of the detainees and a long list of outrages, makes it necessary for solidarity to multiply, both locally and internationally. It is essential to avoid the naturalization of this type of authoritarian and illegal procedures in that the detainees cannot be heard and have no possibility of a defense without pressure. As it happened at the time with Nelson Mandela, or what is happening today with the thousands of Palestinian prisoners, the emblematic case of the Mapuche prisoners of Arauco Malleco, should be taken worldwide as an inescapable flag of defense of those who are punished by state terrorism, for defending their culture and ancestral identity, and for fighting against the destruction of a territory from which they were dispossessed. In that sense, this colonial offensive is no different from the barbarity endured by the people of occupied Palestine.