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  • Mapuches are defending their ancestral territory & demanding their right to land & natural resources.

    Mapuches are defending their ancestral territory & demanding their right to land & natural resources. | Photo: Twitter/ @VIM_Media

Published 6 August 2020
Opinion

Mapuche political prisoners in Angol began a "dry" hunger strike and family members accused the government of "political intransigence".

The Communities in Resistance of the Malleco province at Araucania Chilean region and the Relatives of the Mapuche Political Prisoners announced that the hunger strikers in the jail of Angol, capital of Malleco, began an indefinite "dry" hunger strike.

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Through a statement issued Wednesday night, they deeply regretted that the Chilean Government persists in its political intransigence, of not establishing serious channels of dialogue to seek a way out of this 94-day hunger strike.

They also claim that the indefinite dry hunger strike is due to the lack of political will from the Government to establish a high-level political table to guarantee the effective application of Convention 169 of International Labor Organization (ILO) in the Chilean justice system.

"This drastic measure comes to show that the Government has used the tortuous measure of the delay in the talks, with the purpose of not attending the demands made by the Mapuche strikers," added the text released.

The Communities in Resistance of Malleco and the Relatives called on the Government to engage in a serious political dialogue to avoid a fatal outcome since it is their responsibility to unblock this delicate situation.

At the same time, they called on the Mapuche communities in resistance in Malleco and the different territories of Wallmapu (the name for that native people’s historical territory), to be aware of this extreme measure.

Since last May 4, the Mapuche spiritual authority (machi) Celestino Cordova, has been on a hunger strike in Temuco prison at Araucania, demanding the right to pass the health crisis in his sacred space known as ‘’rewe.’’

Cordova presents a delicate health state and has been joined by other native political prisoners in the cities of Angol and Lebu. They also denounced the violation of the rights of the Mapuche people established by ILO’s 169 Convention, ratified by the Chilean State.

Wednesday, a hundred Mapuche community members occupied the municipality of Tirúa in the Bio-Bio region of southern Chile in support of 27 political prisoners of that ethnic group.

They were also repudiating last weekend's incidents in Araucania when Mapuche citizens who occupied several town halls in support of the striking prisoners were attacked by civilians without the intervention of the police and violently evicted.

In the midst of tensions in the region, the religious order Society of Jesus in Chile asked on Thursday the government to open up a dialogue with the Mapuche people and help stop the violence against them.

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