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  • Indigenous people protesting the murder of Mapuche member by Carabineros.

    Indigenous people protesting the murder of Mapuche member by Carabineros. | Photo: EFE

Published 18 November 2018
Opinion

Scores of Indigenous people gathered to attend the funeral of Camilo Catrillanca, the young Mapuche killed by Carabineros, four of whom are being dismissed. 

Hundreds of Indigenous delegations from all over southern Chile gathered Saturday to mourn the murder of Camilo Catrillanca, the young Mapuche killed by Carabineros, the Chilean police on Nov. 14.

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The funeral ceremony took place in the Temucuicui Tradicional community after which, Camilo’s father Marcelo Catrillanca denounced that the state is responsible for the death of his son.

According to him, the state “says that my son is a criminal and that is not true.” He accused both the Chilean President Sebastian Piñera and Interior Minister Andres Chadwick for creating the Jungle Command which took his son’s life.  

Many Mapuches and Katripaches communities and families (non-Mapuche people, considered as “brothers” of the community) gathered in Temucuicui with flour, food, and animals for the Catrillanca family.

teleSUR correspondent in Chile Paola Dragnic went to Temucuicui. "Murder of young Mapuche Camilo Catrillanca unites all the communities in his wake and in the resistance," she said in her report Saturday.  

The United Nations and Amnesty International have condemned the killing of Camilo. The U.N.-Chile published a statement on Nov. 16 expressing "its concern about the context of violence in which this death occurred and calls on all the actors involved (social and institutional) to seek alternatives to address the underlying reasons for this situation, and promote a culture of peace in the area.”

The organization also urged the government to conduct a thorough and transparent investigation into the murder.

Currently, the Public Ministry is carrying out two investigations. One is for the theft of cars which allegedly led to the firing by Jungle Command, and the second is for the murder of Catrillanca.

General Hermes Soto, the general director of Carabineros said Saturday there are no police recordings that can be used to corroborate the official account of the incident, which differs from that of a 15-year-old Mapuche eyewitness.

"When we turned the tractor we moved forward and the carabineros fired: we were on our backs. There was one of them with a camera. He was the one who fired," said the young Mapuche according to Radio Bio Bio Temuco.

The police helicopter had recorded a part of the operation but the images are of such low resolution, they cannot be considered as evidence or be incorporated in the investigation.

However, according to the latest information, Carabineros that took part in the operation did carry surveillance cameras but destroyed the footage of the same. 

"That is unacceptable (...) we will not tolerate any action that transgresses the law, transgress the institutional norms, transgress the protocols of action of Carabineros," said the interior minister. 

According to him, the investigation led to the information that one of the members of Jungle Command did have a surveillance camera but he destroyed the memory card. Four members of Carabinero are being dismissed for hiding the truth while the government accepted the resignations of General Mauro Victoriano, head of Order and Security of La Araucania, and Ivan Contreras, prefect of the Araucania forces.

The Regional Prosecutor's Office of La Araucania opened a third investigation on obstruction of justice against the dismissed carabinero members. 

Since the murder of the Indigenous man, thousands of people have taken to the streets in various parts of the country to protest the death and persecution of Indigenous community in the country. Counting Catrillanca, 16 Mapuches had been assassinated in Chile since the end of the dictatorship in 1990.

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