After spending fifteen months jailed in pre-trial detention, logko (Mapuche traditional authority) Alberto Curamil and werken (spokesperson) Alvaro Millalen will finally begin a long postponed trial led by a Chilean court. The first hearing will take place on Monday, October 21 in the city of Temuco.
Both leaders of the Mapuche autonomist movement are victims of legal and criminal prosecution in Chile, a pattern that has become all too common among Mapuche land defenders. This is the result of their strong opposition to extractive energy and forestry projects on their territories. In fact, this is not the first time members of the Mapuche nation are sent to trial for alleged criminal cases, which have nothing to do with the territorial struggle facing the Mapuche people and Chile’s economic powers. The Chilean legal system safeguards the interests of industry and the business sector in the country.
The Mapuche Territorial Alliance (ATM) makes a call to denounce and make visible these criminal practices led by the Chilean state and its authorities. We particularly condemn this government’s efforts to position itself as a world leader in environmental protection. Such efforts are false and spurious. They are opportunistic green-washing actions in the context of the United Nations COP25 summit that will take place in Chile in December 2019.
We want the world to know that not only Chile excludes Indigenous peoples from the COP25 process, but it also prosecutes and jails Mapuche traditional authorities like logko Curamil and werken Millalen, who have righteously fought to protect ecological balance. Chile has fostered a predatory and ecocidal development model – a model that seeks to destroy and subjugate the traditional knowledges that have protected our environment for centuries. Our voices, the voices of the people from the land, keep being silenced when it comes to environmental matters.
We urgently invite our friends of all nations and nationalities to help us spread the word by sharing this statement in as many languages as possible. It is an act of protest and a direct call to action for the Chilean government and its legal system to free land defenders logko Alberto Curamil and werken Alvaro Millalen. We also demand freedom for all Mapuche political prisoners.
We also make a call for international observers to take part in this trial, which will last more than 20 days. There are no guarantees in place to ensure transparency, equality before the law, and due process, particularly in a context where the Chilean government itself seems to be the toughest claimant prosecuting our brothers.
Mapuche Territorial Alliance
Wallmapu (Mapuche territory)