Mapuche Nation Territory
November 16, 2018

By: Mapuche Territorial Alliance Communications

Camilo Catrillanca worked on the land since he was a child and was always committed to the rights of his people. He was born amidst a struggle against the forestry industry in an effort to recuperate a hill near his lof (community). By the time the next land recuperation process took place he had already become a key community leader. During his childhood, he not only listened to the sounds of nature, but also heard the explosion of police gunpowder targeting his own family members. He became used to being injured with police buckshots and, after experiencing such everyday repression, was no longer afraid of bullets or death. That is why we can see him on a video recording yelling ‘kill me now, kill me like you do it there (in the community)’ at a police officer, thus boycotting a manipulative media event led by the Piñera Government in the town of Ercilla in 2012.

In this context, Camilo became one of the founding members of the PulofMapuXawun – Mapuche Territorial Alliance, organization he later left in order to move his family projects forward and to further his commitment to the rights of our Nation. On the day he was murdered, he was driving the tractor he used during his agricultural activities, which still displays the marks of the burst of war gunfire, perforating even the vehicle’s thick metal mechanical plow. Reliable sources confirm that a group of nearly 30 uniformed police officers approched the tractor and began shooting from behind before Camilo could defend himself. After realizing that Camilo was wounded, the minor that was with him at the time of the shooting got off the tractor, raised his hands, and asked the police to stop firing. It is known that, as per the protocol, the officer who fired the deadly burst was carrying a video camera as part of his equipement – hence the urgency for the video to be made publicly available. After the police stopped shooting they threw Camilo to the ground. Shortly after, inside the armoured car, one of the officers removed and replaced the video camera’s memory card. Then some policemen, including an officer referred to as Colonel, started beating the minor from behind. That same afternoon, a total of five minors and two adults were detained and brutally beaten by the Chilean police. After being tortured and spending one day in pre-trial detention minor M.P. was brought before the court, where the detention was found to be illegal.

The different versions offered by the police and government authorities demonstrate the will to conceal the reasons behind the murder, are the beginning of a new process of impunity, and reveal that murder and torture for political reasons take place in Chile. This case also demonstrates that there is a high level mandate to shoot at Mapuche people, and that police officers act deliberately, making visible the tension between the police’s supposed armed protection of citizens and the impossibility for Indigenous peoples to find justice in cases of excessive police violence. It is also important to keep in mind the existence of manupulation mechanisms aimed at dividing the lof, which generate hostility among brothers and sisters, create false leaderships, and prevent the defense and proyection of the Mapuche struggle.

In the face of these realities we demand justice and sanctions, not only to the police officers responsible for this murder, but also to the owners of the neocolonization of Wallmapu (Mapuche ancestral territory). Extractive industry businessmen Angelini, Matte, Luksic, and Piñera and their accomplices, including Interior and Public Safety Minister Chadwick – one of Pinochet’s child prodigies – among others, are the culprits of the murder of Camilo Catrillanca. The struggle must continue, and includes finding ways for the masterminds of this and so many other forms of repression – current and future – to be prosecuted and sanctioned. That they are called murderers on every street they walk by, in every city around the world they visit. That is how punishment begins. History will take care of the rest.