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In a special Congressional session, Chadwick says: "If extreme violence in Araucania is over, the presence of special forces in Araucania is over."
Chile’s Interior Minister Andres Chadwick admitted before a Congressional committee that the state special police forces, commonly known as the Jungle Command, shot 24-year-old Mapuche Camilo Catrillanca unprovoked on Nov. 14.
Chilean legislator Emilia Nuyado, the first Mapuche woman to win a seat in Chile’s House of Representatives, lead the questioning of Chadwick for the Commission of Human Rights and Indigenous Peoples Tuesday. During questioning, the minister admitted that Catrillanca was unarmed when he was shot and killed by police in his home community Ercilla, located in the southern Araucania region.
Indigenous leaders and activists across Chile have demanded Chadwick’s resignation since the murder took place nearly one month ago.
They argue Chadwick is responsible for the police's use of excessive force against Mapuches who are demanding the return of their native lands, stolen by loggers and the government decades ago. The minister is also being accused of changing the state’s version of the assassination, trying to protect the interests and reputation of the national police.
Nuyado didn’t rule out the possibility of a putting Chadwick on congressional trial to impeach him and ban them from holding public office.
Tuesday’s special session was called with the intent to clarify the circumstances around the homicide of the Indigenous Mapuche and understand the state’s role in the murder.
The congresswoman told local reporters that she wasn’t satisfied with Chadwick’s responses and is demanding more transparency from the government.
"He always points to how he tried to manage the situation and sends his condolences to the family (of Catrillanca)” but Nayudo and other Congress members say they were hoping the session would yield more "clarity and greater transparency around everything that happened, on Nov. 14.
During the hearing, Minister Chadwick claimed there was “terrorism” in the Araucania region and threatened continued violence by state forces.
"If the extreme violence in Araucania is over, the presence of special (police) forces in Araucania is also over," Chadwick said, adding "if there weren't violence in the region, there wouldn't be police forces." He followed up by saying that the executive department is “open to dialogue for peace.”
Nuyado responded by saying that the national police forces—Jungle Command and Carabineros—use the same types of weapons in Araucania as were used in wars in Kosovo, Gaza, and Syria.
"The Mapuche people are not terrorists," retorted Nuyado.
Chadwick said that not all Mapuche were terrorists, but specified some were, stressing: "We are open to dialogue now. That’s what we want to convey to all of you. Let's all work together to regain trust."
Within the past week, right-wing billionaire President Sebastian Piñera announced the Plan Araucania to create more dialogue and economic development in the region.
Two of the four national police initially detained for Camilo Catrillanca’s murder were freed Monday after a court revoked their preventive prison sentence. His father, Marcelo, said the decision again confirms that there is no sense of justice for the Mapuche people. "Justice for us Mapuche does not exist,” said the Indigenous leader.
Chadwick and police at first tried to make Catrillanca’s murder seem like an accident, however, a Specialized Operational Intelligence Unit of Carabineros (UIOE) report that came to light in late November showed that Camilo was being closely surveilled by state security a year prior to his assassination.
The case of Camilo’s assassination has prompted nationwide protests against police brutality and the use of Chile's anti-terrorism law to prosecute Mapuches who defend their claim to ancestral territories.