The Mapuche people of Chile rebelled in Santiago targeting banks. The indigenous people are demanding their land back from the corporations and neo-colonial authorities., a photo by Pan-African News Wire File Photos on Flickr.
Chilean couple die in arson attack after land dispute with Mapuche Indians
Interior minister condemns 'terrorist act' after Werner Luchsinger and Vivian McKay are killed in remote Araucanía region
Associated Press in Santiago
guardian.co.uk, Friday 4 January 2013 13.54 EST
An elderly couple whose family had long been targeted by Mapuche Indians in land disputes have been killed in an arson attack while trying to defend their home, police say.
The Chilean president, Sebastián Piñera, was flying to the scene in the remote southern Araucanía region with his interior minister, Andrés Chadwick, who called it a terrorist act that would be severely punished.
Werner Luchsinger, 75, fired a weapon in self-defence, and struck a man from the nearby Mapuche community of Juan Quintrupil before his home burned to the ground, the police chief Ivan Bezmalinovic said.
Luchsinger's wife, Vivian McKay, called relatives for help during the attack, but when they arrived just 15 minutes later the house was already in flames and she did not answer her phone, according to the victims' cousin, Jorge Luchsinger.
Chadwick said Chile's tough anti-terrorism law would be applied to those responsible.
The attack began on Thursday night as one of many political protests around Chile commemorating the death five years ago of the Mapuche activist Matias Catrileo, who was shot in the back by an officer who served a minor sentence and then rejoined the police. The Indians scattered pamphlets related to the anniversary while on the Luchsinger property, Chadwick said.
The victims' Lumahue ranch is just 16 miles (25km) from the spot where Catrileo was killed on 3 January 2008.
Celestino Cordova Transito, 26, was detained near the scene early on Friday. Police have him under arrest in a hospital in Temuco, where he was being treated for a gunshot wound in the neck, the chief said.
Piñera plans to meet the Luchsinger family and other landowners as well as local authorities, Chadwick said.
The Luchsinger family arrived in Mapuche territory from Switzerland in the late 1800s and benefited from the government's colonisation policies for decades thereafter, becoming one of the largest landowners in Chile's Patagonia region. Their forestry and ranching companies now occupy vast stretches of southern Chile, and impoverished Mapuches live on the margins of their properties.
Jorge Luchsinger said masked Indians had attacked his and other relatives' properties as well, and complained that the considerable police presence in the area had failed to control the violence. "It's obvious that the authorities are completely overwhelmed," he told Cooperativa radio.
The Mapuches, for their part, have lodged many complaints of abuse of power by police in the area. The UN's special rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, James Anaya, has denounced police violence, as has Chile's official Human Rights Institute, and judges have ordered police to stop using teargas against women and children while raiding Mapuche communities in search of suspects.
Chile: Couple dies defending home amid protests
By FEDERICO QUILODRAN, Associated Press
Updated 3:21 pm, Friday, January 4, 2013
SANTIAGO, Chile (AP) — An elderly couple whose family's vast landholdings have long been targeted by Mapuche Indians in southern Chile were killed in an arson attack early Friday while trying to defend their home. The president quickly flew to the scene and announced new security measures, including the application of Chile's tough anti-terrorism law and the creation of a special police anti-terror unit backed by Chile's military.
No one claimed responsibility for the attack, which some Mapuche Indians repudiated Friday as senseless and abhorrent. But Chile's interior minister said pamphlets condemning police violence and demanding the return of Mapuche lands were left at the scene. The presidentially appointed governor of the remote southern region of Araucania, Andres Molina, called the attackers "savages."
"This attack affects the entire country and causes gigantic damage, for the pain and the delays that it means for thousands of families who want to live in peace," Pinera said. "This government is united in its effort to combat terrorism that affects the region. We will not hesitate to apply the full weight of the law."
"It should be completely clear," Pinera added, "that this fight is not against the Mapuche people. It's with a minority of violent terrorists who must be fought with everything the law allows."
Read more: http://www.seattlepi.com/news/science/article/Chile-Couple-dies-defending-home-amid-protests-4167489.php#ixzz2H4oEbgyk