No menu items!

Opinion: Indigenous terrorism grows by leaps and bounds in the American South

By Karina Mariani*

(Opinion) Chile and Argentina are victims not only of the criminal acts of ethno-terrorism but also of the ideological and even economic support their governments provide to the terrorists.

Both Kirchnerism and the Boric government believe that the separatist-indigenous demand is valid in their ideological framework.

Read also: Check out our coverage on curated alternative narratives

Therefore, they fear losing their voter base and going against their narrative if they oppose the actions of Mapuche terrorism in any way.

Lafken Winkul Mapu group burns down houses. (Photo internet reproduction)
Lafken Winkul Mapu group burns down houses. (Photo internet reproduction)

This inherent weakness is well known to the various organized groups that plague the south of both countries and is the reason for the increase and acceleration of conflict.

In recent days, severe attacks have occurred in the Villa Mascardi area, leaving the Argentine government with no room to maneuver, so it has had to pretend to act by clearing an expropriated property and forcibly blocking the road.

Strangely, however, only women and children were arrested, including one woman who was 40 weeks pregnant and two women with babies aged 3 and 4 months.

Not a single one of the violent terrorists manages to be arrested.

Crazy coincidences.

The terror in Villa Mascardi, 35 km from Bariloche, worsened in 2017 by appropriating sizeable national park areas.

The Lafken Winkul Mapu group continued encroaching on public and private property throughout the tourist area.

Always violent and hooded, they vandalized and seized the facilities of the former IOS Hotel, which was planned for the park’s ranger school and private ranches.

Then they continued with the Diocese of San Isidro’s property and two Unión Personal Superior de Gas del Estado properties.

Here begins Lafken Winkul Mapu Territory. (Photo internet reproduction)
Here begins Lafken Winkul Mapu Territory. (Photo internet reproduction)

Having recently set fire to a National Gendarmerie post near the Los Radales property (which had been set on fire on August 1), they erected a barricade at the access road, continuing their territorial expansion plan.

Then they stormed La Cristalina, the hut of the president of the Junta Vecinal Villa Mascardi.

This week, the judiciary ordered an eviction that ended with the arrest of women and several minors who had been used for seizures and blockades in a widespread action of international terrorism.

The Kirchner government handled the order with kid gloves, claiming that the perpetrators “didn’t get a scratch.”

And then it withdrew.

The next day, the chapel of Our Lady of the Assumption was set on fire and vandalized.

Father Julio, the chapel’s pastor, said, “they wanted to burn it, and in the center, we also have an evangelical church that was attacked.”

In Esquel, Chubut, a group of Mapuche blocked the advance of the Trochita, a Patagonian freight train, chanting, “the struggle goes on and on, the Mapuche people are alive,” and also attacked Los Alerces National Park.

A house illegally occupied by Lafken Winkul Mapu is being stormed. (Photo internet reproduction)
A house illegally occupied by Lafken Winkul Mapu is being stormed. (Photo internet reproduction)

In Villa Mascardi, a group of about 40 hooded people came down from the mountain at the height of Ruca Lauquen and tried to cut Route 40 less than a day after the expulsion of the Mapuche, where the community of Lof Lafken Winkul Mapu was located.

Lof Lafken Winkul Mapu received support from other Mapuche communities.

A neighbor from Bariloche who tried to approach the confiscated property was attacked with stones next to the gendarmerie post that had been set up to guard the property, after which a group of at least 20 people shot at him and set him on fire.

The stay of the women and children is part of a strategy already used by the same community in the frustrated eviction of the national parks in 2017.

The group’s men managed to escape and then tried to reclaim the territory.

In this context, Rafael Nahuel was killed in a confrontation with security forces as he fled the devastated area.

After the community regained control of these lands, they began an escalation of appropriations that included both public and private lands.

In this context, the courts have just ordered an in-depth investigation into why the army authorities did not object to transferring lands to Mapuche groups on the outskirts of San Carlos de Bariloche.

“We could be dealing with an action or a series of coordinated and systematic actions that were deliberately planned in different areas of the public administration – perhaps at the higher levels.’

Residents and business feel more and more threatened. (Photo internet reproduction)
Residents and business feel more and more threatened. (Photo internet reproduction)

“This to benefit a specific group or groups of individuals or criminal organizations that could have links with terrorist, international or drug crime related structures,” the ruling states.

In addition, members of ethno-terrorist organizations receive social plans that allow them to live without work and at the expense of taxpayers who systematically attack them.

In this sense, it is crucial to consider the parallels and coordination with the groups that control large areas of southern Chile.

Chile has been suffering from this tragedy for many years, with much more violent and profound actions exacerbated by the laissez-faire attitude of the socialist government.

One example is Fernando Fuenteabla, president of the Foundation for Victims of Violence in Chile’s Southern Macrozone, a tourism entrepreneur who, in 2004, bought a hotel in Quidico, a fishing village of fewer than 2,000 people that was attacked when indigenous terrorism moved into the area a few years later.

Mafia and criminal activity, as in Argentine Patagonia, aims to eradicate the country’s productive sectors of great energy, forestry, and tourism value.

In the Chilean case, murders, attacks with weapons of war, and fires are common.

According to Fuentealba, the Colombian government, under the presidency of Álvaro Uribe, reported that emails were discovered in the computers of captured FARC leaders, that this group had exchanged with the Chilean Communist Party, showing that Mapuche elements were sent to Colombia to be trained.

Later, they began to bring these trainers into the area because it was a complex area to access, controlled by them, and that became an absolute nightmare because they began to develop drug trafficking, cattle theft, timber theft, and vehicle theft.

They now have an incredible level of funding and a more significant military capacity than the carabineros, the police.

Here begins Lafken Winkul Mapu Territory too. (Photo internet reproduction)
Here begins Lafken Winkul Mapu Territory too. (Photo internet reproduction)

He also points out the links of terrorist leaders with the Boric government, referring to the head of the Social Development Department, Jeanette Vega, who resigned when her contact with the leader of the most prominent radical Mapuche organization, Héctor Llaitul, who had been arrested the previous day, became known.

Fuentealba has been the victim of several assassination attempts, one of which was an ambush with weapons of war in the street, and points out that the inaction of the current government is due to its links with members of the Arauco Malleco Coordinating Committee (CAM).

Some of them were members of the Constituent Assembly that drafted the rejected draft constitution.

Another parallel between Chile and Argentina is the situation of the security forces.

To explain the case of the Carabineros, Fuentealba explains that they have no political support and that, for example, when he managed to establish a protection post in his neighborhood, it was systematically attacked at gunpoint.

In southern Argentina and Chile, violence against indigenous people increases with impunity.

Fuentealba claims that groups on both sides of the mountain range act coordinatedly: “They attack one side and hide on the other. There have been arrests that confirm this.

The theft of timber and livestock, extortion, and drug trafficking is the financing mechanism of indigenous terrorism, which is bringing more and more areas of South America under its control.

In parallel, governments feeding off the São Paulo Forum are making agreements with current or former guerrilla groups that have existed in the region for decades.

The more ground they gain politically and diplomatically, the more undisturbed they can create corridors across the continent.

The “indigenous peoples” narrative is probably the most corrosive and has most affected the ability to combat this scourge, given the numerous treaties and norms that grant privileges and impunity.

In this political, institutional, and economic context, indigenous terrorism can only win.

*Journalist. University degree in communication sciences / University of Buenos Aires. Specialized in political communication and political campaigns. Editorial director of Columnist for La Prensa and La Derecha Diario newspapers. She is a playwright and author of children’s stories—cultural manager, and producer.

Join us on Telegram:

Check out our other content