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News > Chile

Unknown Criminals Try To Intimidate Chilean Interior Minister

  • Interior Minister Izkia Siches (C) visiting the Araucania region, Chile, March 15, 2022.

    Interior Minister Izkia Siches (C) visiting the Araucania region, Chile, March 15, 2022. | Photo: EFE

Published 15 March 2022

The acts of intimidation occurred while the officials were traveling to a region where the operation of extractive companies has increased violence against Indigenous peoples.

On Tuesday, unknown criminals attempted to intimidate Chilean Interior Minister Izkia Siches with gunshots to the air when she was about to discuss possible strategies to counteract violence in the La Araucania region with social leader Marcelo Catrillanca. 


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"Although we have not yet been able to establish the reasons for the attack, we should remember that citizens in this region hold the State responsible for the armed violence," Catrillanca said and welcomed that Siches was not injured.

For decades, the Mapuche Indigenous people have protested against the Chilean state for the concessions of their ancestral territories to large agricultural and forestry companies.

In an attempt to raise awareness about such a situation, Mapuche communities took part last year in mass demonstrations and rallies. To prevent the protest from occurring again, former President Sebastian Piñera militarized the region in October 2021, which increased violence and persecution against Indigenous citizens.

Under President Gabriel Boric's initiative, a government delegation led by Siches on Tuesday began a tour towards this region to coordinate its de-militarization with the security forces and attend the reclaims of the Mapuche people.

"We knew the path we chose to face the critical situation in La Araucania will not be easy since many political sectors do not want the solution to the conflict to be peaceful and consensual. However, we will be persevering with our stance," the Boric administration spokeswoman Camila Vallejo stated.

“Our delegation will continue dialoguing with social leaders to find solutions to the conflict. No attack or disturbance will be able to intimidate them,” she added.

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