Mapuche organization denies responsibility for Carahue forest fire

Mapuche organization denies responsibility for Carahue forest fire

10 January 2012

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Chile — Mapuche organization CAM, Coordinadora Arauco Malleco, has written a communiqué in which they deny all responsibility for starting the forest fire in Carahue which took the lives of seven fire fighters. This comes in response to claims made by Interior Minister Rodrigo Hintzpeter and the Mayor of Araucanía, Andrés Molina, which linked the forest fire to Mapuche activists. Molina in particular pointed out the similarity between the fire at “Casa de Piedra” and the burning of a helicopter, for which CAM claimed responsibility.

The text, written by the imprisoned group leader, Hector Llaitul, claims that the accusations are “a set up to justify the application of the anti-terrorist law to Mapuche communities in conflict, the movement for Mapuche autonomy, and in particular the CAM.”

He warned that the measure sought to strengthen the anti-terrorism law “as a valid tool to face the student and social movements in Chile in anticipation of a year over which bigger movements and struggles loom.”

Nevertheless, Llaitul maintained that the land affected by the fires was “ancestral Mapuche land seized by the forestry industry,” naming the said industry as ”the sole cause of this tragedy.”

CAM closeD their statement lamenting “profoundly the death of poor people [and] young workers who are also victim of the economic system, working in deplorable conditions with a miserable wage,” criticizing the disparity in social provision between Chile’s richest and poorest families.

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