Chile: Constituents Reject the Militarization of the Wallmapu Territory

FROM THE EDITORS: The 17 elected representatives for the seats reserved for the first nations for the Constitutional Convention in Chile have released a statement against the militarization and declaration of a state of emergency in Wallmapu territory. On October 12, President Sebastián Piñera declared a state of emergency in the southern macrozone for “serious disturbance of public order,” effectively militarizing the Mapuche territory. The Wallmapu has been in resistance since the arrival of the Spanish and settlers who dispossessed the first nations of their lands, during the Pinochet dictatorship and currently against the rampant logging and tree trafficking in Wallmapu territory. Criminalized under the Antiterrorist Law and now accused of drug trafficking, the injustices committed against the Mapuche population were rejected by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights. We share below a translation of this declaration.


Public Declaration of the Constitutional Convention Reserved Seats Representatives

We, the 17 representatives of reserved seats for indigenous peoples in the Constitutional Convention, declare before national and international public opinion our profound rejection of the state of emergency declared on October 12 in the southern macrozone and the Wallmapu–the day of commemoration of the peoples victims of the genocide by the conquest–by the government of Sebastián Piñera.

From the start, through our work as constituents representing indigenous peoples and nations, we have promoted actions and calls to end the repression of social protest, the demilitarization of the Wallmapu, and the re-establishment of peaceful conditions that prioritize the need to achieve the much needed political dialogue. Day by day we work for a comprehensive, intercultural, and long-term solution to responsibly address the historical debt to indigenous people. However, the government has decided to impose a constitutional state of emergency that will only deepen a historical wound, the spiral of violence and militarization.

We denounce that this measure will not contribute to solving the conflict installed by the Chilean State; distant and recent history gives us the sad certainty of what will happen. The deployment of the Armed Forces today seems a distracting maneuver from constitutional accusations presented against President Sebastián Piñera for a premise on incompatible negotiations in the Dominga case, made known through the leak of the “Pandora Papers”, for which he will be investigated for tax crimes and bribery before the court of law.

It is worrying that representatives of the Chilean government do not have the capacity to read the political mood nor make decisions in line with what this historical moment demands. A few days before the October 18 anniversary, the popular rebellion that led to the current constitutional process, and after the unfortunate death of a human rights observer when she was working to support a Mapuche mobilization, we think this declaration of a state of emergency is a provocation to the indigenous people. It is a political error that will only exacerbate the conflict installed by the Chilean State in our territories and will not solve its historical debt, security issues, or underlying problems.

The State has a duty to guarantee the safety of the population and to efficiently investigate possible crimes, but within a framework of respect for human rights and by means proportional to the damage it seeks to avoid. In this sense, it is urgent that the Chilean state begins a path of respect and reparations for the political and territorial rights of all native nations, as an unavoidable need for the constitutional process of a more democratic and plurinational Chile, finally democratic. We will not tolerate that the lives of our sisters and brothers be placed at risk again at the hands of State forces.