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  • A demonstration for the resistance of the Mapuche in Santiago de Chile, Chile, Oct. 10, 2016.

    A demonstration for the resistance of the Mapuche in Santiago de Chile, Chile, Oct. 10, 2016. | Photo: EFE

Published 27 December 2018

The death of a young man, a month ago, unleashed criticism about the presence of special police forces within Mapuche territories.

One month after the murder of community member Camilo Catrillanca, by Chilean police (Caribeneros), Mapuche leaders met in Temucuicui, Chile, and decided to undertake a mobilization for 48 hours to promote the demilitarization of their territory.

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"We call for a general mobilization on Dec. 27 and 28 to achieve demilitarization, territorial recovery, the establishment of a Mapuche historical clarification commission, and to advance towards a Mapuche self-determination path," Marcelo Catrillanca, father of Camilo who was gunned down on Nov. 14, said.

Since then the accused security persons, their superiors and Interior Minister Andres Chadwick have changed the official version of the circumstances surrounding the killing several times.

A few days after the incident, however, a Chilean media released videos showing the operation carried out by the Carabinero's Special Police Operations Group (Gope). The video disclosed officials, acting on instructions, discharging weapons from a helicopter during a chase.

Marcelo asked Chile's Chamber of Deputies to hold a special session to "address the situations that affect the Mapuche people." That request, however, was not accepted because, according to the community leader, the legislators responded that "it is not possible for representatives of the Mapuche people to speak in a special session."

The father of the deceased also said that he holds both Chile's President Sebastian Piñera and the Interior Minister, Andres Chadwick, responsible for the actions of the Gope officials who killed his son, citing "Jungle Command" in Temucuicui as a "terrorist action" towards "an unarmed community that lives in peace."

Before their last meeting in Temucuicui, Mapuche leaders also had a mass reunion where they called upon Michelle Bachelet, who is Chile's former president and current United Nations High Commissioner of Human Rights, to intervene in the Camilo Catrillanca case.

In one of the envoy's first public address regarding the case, Bachelet indicated that during her tenure as president she had asked for "forgiveness on behalf of the State of Chile for a whole history of discrimination, injustice" against the Mapuche people and added that she hopes "a deep investigation where those responsible can be discovered and brought to justice."

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