The Chilean Chamber of Deputies approved the eighth extension of the state of emergency and militarization in the southern region of La Araucanía and the provinces of Arauco and Biobío due to the escalation of violence in the area.
Santiago seems unable to get a grip on the Mapuche conflict.
According to the organization, “the majority of parliamentarians supported the extension requested by the government for another fifteen days” to make “progress in controlling the violence and the actions of drug terrorism.”
On the other hand, many felt that stricter measures should be taken because “acts of violence continue to occur” and that the police should be provided with more material and resources to combat them.
On May 16, the Chilean government imposed a constitutional state of emergency (EECE) in the so-called southern macrozone, allowing the deployment of police and military with expanded powers.
Since then, the measure has been extended and must be evaluated by the Senate on Wednesday, Sept. 28, when the last extension expires.
The background to the initiative is the problems related to the conflict that the state has been waging for decades with the Mapuche people, as well as the theft of timber and suspected drug trafficking in these southern towns.
The Mapuche conflict involves indigenous Mapuche communities located in Araucanía and nearby regions of Chile and Argentina. It is often referred to as a conflict between the Mapuche and the Chilean government or state.
Big forestry companies, their contractors, Chilean police, and some non-indigenous landowners have been confronted by militant Mapuche organizations and local Mapuche communities.
The clashes have been classified as an indigenous self-determination conflict.
Mapuche activists demand greater autonomy, recognition of rights, and the return of historical lands.
The Mapuche conflict intensified following the return of democracy in the 1990s, with Mapuche activists seeking to rectify the loss of ancestral territory during the Occupation of Araucanía and the Conquest of the Desert.
The Mapuche lack a central organization and individuals and communities carry out their struggle independently and by different means.
Some groups, such as the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM), have used violent tactics since 1998, while others have preferred non-violent tactics and institutional negotiations.