Saturday, June 27, 2015

'Ethnic Conflict' Shows No Sign of Letting Up

Radical indigenous groups continue to attack ranchers, police and logging companies, and their firepower seems to be increasing. Setting fire to trucks and logging facilities remains a favorite tactic of Mapuche militants. But a few incidents this year show a more dangerous side to what the government calls an "ethnic conflict." A police armored vehicle was shot up with what's believed to be 7.62 mm assault rifles. In March, a Mapuche leader believed to be cooperating with the investigation into the attack against a prosecutor had her house set on fire by hooded men, and her husband was shot. Some Mapuches are getting shot, too. A watchman fired his shotgun at one of several men who had set trucks on fire, leaving him seriously wounded. Officials count more than 130 incidents in the disputed territory during the first four months of the year, The Mapuche rebellion stems from the loss of ancestral lands that were stripped from them. The government has had little success trying to solve the problem or in curtailing the violence.

2 comments:

Veriuska said...

The problem between the Mapuche and the Chilean government is not a simple one. For decades the government denied the existence of this native ethnic group, teaching citizens (including this writer) that Chile had NO indigenous people, as they had been exterminated by the Spanish conquistadores. It was not until well into the sixties and early seventies that these peoples surfaced from the interior of the country, to claim their identity and the lands they rightfully felt was theirs. They have been persecuted and oppressed, as most minorities are in most countries. I see no easy solution; but as human beings, they do deserve some justice.

Juan Carlos Arancibia said...

Yes, I'm afraid the government's neglect of native groups has made this issue all the more difficult to deal with.