Centro de Documentación Mapuche Documentation Center

13 August 2009


Mapuche and Solidarity Organizations of Europe and North America

For the right to life of the Mapuche Nation in Chile

In the region of Araucanía our Mapuche brother Jaime Facundo Mendoza Collio has died after being shot by a Chilean policeman. His death occurred in the context of actions by Mapuche communities demanding the return of their ancestral land which was unlawfully seized by the Chilean State. Jaime, aged 24, is the fifth Mapuche victim (and the sixth in that region) to die as a result of shooting and torture by the Chilean police.

Previously, on 3 January 2008 police murdered 23-year-old Matías Catrileo Quezada. In the same year, on 31 March 2008, Johnny Cariqueo Yáñez, aged 23, died as a result of being tortured. On 3 May 2007 the Chilean police murdered forestry worker Rodrigo Cisternas Fernández while he was participating in protests by workers at the forestry company Celulosa Arauco. In August 2006 Juan Collihuín Catril, aged 71, was murdered and on 3 November 2003 Alex Lemun Saavedra, aged 17, was also murdered.

Under the government of Michelle Bachelet Jeria the ethnic persecution has taken on alarming proportions. At this moment 37 Mapuche political leaders are incarcerated in various prisons in the south of Chile. Of these, 28 prisoners are being prosecuted or have been convicted under the Anti-Terrorist Law (No.18.314.) inherited from Pinochet's dictatorship. In total 60 community members are in prison or on conditional release awaiting sentence or trial. Three Mapuches have had to seek political asylum in Argentina and Switzerland. Added to this is the disappearance in 2005 of a Mapuche minor - José Huenante Huenante - who was possibly tortured to death by carabineros in the south of Chile. President Bachelet has been notified of these facts by the Ethical Commission Against Torture, whose report has been discussed by the Working Group on Collective Rights, State Policies and Mapuche People in Chile, before the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination in August 2009.

The mobilizations that are taking place in Wallmapu (the Mapuche homeland) are a response to the total lack of political will to recognize the Mapuche’s territorial and political rights and the denial of their autonomy and self-determination. We therefore hold the government of Michelle Bachelet responsible for the police repression and its effects on the Mapuche people.

The communities of the Wenteche, Lafkenche and Pewenche areas who are grouped together in the Territorial Alliance of the Mapuche People took the decision to commence their political actions after 24 July, when representatives of the Bachelet government refused to meet with a delegation of 100 Mapuche chiefs. The refusal to engage in dialogue and the failure of the legal system prompted them to begin direct action to recover their land from forestry companies and individual landlords.

In response to this wave of mobilizations, the government preferred to have recourse to repressive measures, including increasing police numbers in the various areas of the Araucanía region.

This resulted in further brutality and human rights violations by the police against the Mapuche people. So it was, that on 27 July 2009 the mobilized communities, led by chiefs Catrillanca and Curinao, presented a case before the Court of Appeal of Temuco for the institutional responsibility that the latter has in the protection of their constitutional guarantees. Among these: the right to life of community members and their families.

We therefore state the following:

The Mapuche and Solidarity Organizations of Europe and North America express their heartfelt condolences to the relatives of Jaime Facundo Mendoza Collio; we share their grief over his tragic death.

The repressive actions of Michelle Bachelet’s government clearly represent the denial of our political and territorial rights and the negation of our autonomy and self-determination. These rights are recognised in the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples of 13 Sept 2007, which has been ratified by the Chilean government.

The military justice system of the Chilean state does not offer the guarantees required for due process. The application of Anti-Terrorist Law No.18.314 does not give those accused the right to defence.

We demand the facts that occurred in this tragic incident in Angol are investigated by the civil justice system and monitored by national and international human rights organizations.

We reaffirm that the Mapuche Nation is lawfully entitled to fight to recover and reconstruct its historical territory, which was unlawfully annexed by the Chilean state. The Mapuche territory has been formally recognised by international treaties signed by the Spanish crown and later by the Chilean state itself.

We reiterate that we will continue to expose the racist and repressive policies of the Chilean State against the Mapuche Nation.


Jorge Calbucura
Reynaldo Mariqueo
Mapuche Documentation Center, Ñuke Mapu - Coordinator - Sweden
Mapuche International Link Coordinator - UK
Miguel Utreras Imilmaqui, Noruega
Carlos Contreras Painemal,
Co-director Center for Innovative Development - Norway
Coordinador Centro de Documentación Mapuche, Rucadugun - Germany
Gaston Lion
Dionicio Barrales Leal
Coordinador Comite Belga - America India – Belgium
Coordinador Mapuche Nation Support Committe, Edmonton - Canada
R. Eduardo Rapiman M.
Carlos Pilquil
Director Laboratorio de las Artes (Lab.ADC) Araucania, Norway
Coordinador Mapuche Nation Support Committe, Montreal - Canada
Victor Gavilan
Cecilia Aguilera
Coordinador Mapuche Nation Support Committe, Calgary - Canada
Coordinadora Mapuche Nation Support Committe, Winnipeg - Canada
Oscar Loncochino
Coordinador - Puentes Culturales Umeå, Sapmi - Sweden

For further information please visit:

· Mapuche Documentation Center, Ñuke Mapu: www.mapuche.info

· Mapuche International Link: www.mapuche-nation.org