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News > Chile

Chile: Inmates Begin Hunger Strike in Support of Mapuche Leader

  • Spiritual Advisor Celestino Cordova at the Temuco Prison, Chile, April, 2020.

    Spiritual Advisor Celestino Cordova at the Temuco Prison, Chile, April, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @biobio

Published 20 July 2020

Seven political prisoners join the hunger strike started by Celestino Cordova 77 days ago.

In the Angol Prison located at the Araucania region, Mapuche political prisoners went on a hunger strike to support the struggle of Spiritual Advisor (Machi) Celestino Cordova. They also demand his release given his delicate health condition.


Mapuche Leader Calls to Keep Fighting for the Indigenous Rights

"The oppression of the Mapuche people is a political matter. Our demands must be heard," the prisoners said in a statement.

President Sebastian Piñera's lack of progress on Machi Celestino's demands prompted the Angol political prisoners to join his cause.

The inmates urged authorities to reach a consensus, "through reflection, conversation, and meetings, to achieve Cordova and all political prisoners' immediate release, whether if they are Mapuche or not," they assured.

This weekend, human rights organizations from La Araucania requested the intervention of the United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Machi Celestino Cordova has been on a hunger strike for 77 days since his imprisonment in the Temuco prison, demanding equal rights and conditions for Mapuche's political prisoners.

Cordova's family and friends have warned about the delicate health condition of the Spiritual Guide who has lost a lot of weight in recent months and has constant hypotension.

Machi Celestino is serving an 18-year sentence after appearing as the only one convicted of the death of a married couple killed in a fire attack in 2014.

The judicial authorities found him guilty of the crime only because he was found 2 kilometers from the scene with a gunshot wound on the day of the incident.

The machi protest was initially followed by eight inmates of Angol prison. Two weeks ago, another 11 prisoners from Lebu prison joined the hunger strike.

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