Cumbre de APEC - Santiago de Chile

Open letter from Mapuche organizations to APEC representatives
ClaudioE. latinsol at Fri Jun 4 15:53:50 PDT 2004

Centro de Medios Independientes Santiago


Mapuche Territory

Representatives of the economies of : Australia, Brunei Darussalam, Canada, The Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zeland, Peru, The Phillipines, Papua New Guinea, The Russian Federation, Singapore, Chinese Taipei (Taiwan), Thailand, The United States, and Vietnam.

On occasion of the meeting of the APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade in Pucon and Villarrica, Chile June 4-5, the organizations and territorial identities subscribing to this letter wish to signal the following:

These meetings in Pucon and Villarrica are located in ancestral Mapuche territorry, which was usurped by the Chilean state. Likewise, we have summoned the President of Chile, Ricardo Lagos Escobar, to stop the folklorization of our culture and its existence in this meeting, an open provocation given that we already feel like we are victims of jail, repression, and the criminalization of our legitimate collective demands as a people; all at the hands of the government and influential factional groups. It is essential to note that today, important Mapuche leaders within our territories are imprisoned-all of this in the name of the same economic model that your economies represent and that you plan to continue consolidating in our territory, increasing the colonialization and usurpation of our lands, of our natural resources, and of our traditional knowledge.

We firmly believe that you may not continue carrying out trade negotiations behind the backs of the people. The economies that you represent as well as your promotion of market liberalization within the APEC region and standardization of trade rules amongst unequal economies with asymettrical technologies and development cause vast sectors of society, such as indigenous people, and in this case, the Mapuche people, whose rights your economies neither recognize nor respect, to be vulnerable within an economy overwhelmed by corporate domination, transnational pirateering. and environmental and social disaster. This future which you control is not the mandate of the peoples that have entrusted you to govern; this is not the future that the people want.

Know that you are coming to the center of our historic territory, and as such, with the respect that we deserve, we request that before embarking on the path to liberalize trade relations, you should first establish as a fundamental priority within the APEC region a dialogue on the standardization of indigenous rights. We demand that you speak face-to-face with the people, to whom you owe your mandate and obedience, given that the matters to be discussed in the APEC meeting in our territory have no reason to be reserved and hidden. We summon you to stop the unjust trade practices that APEC promotes, and to dutifully and ethically NOT carry out the pending processes of liberalization that the WTO is attempting, which it has not been able to impose. The imposition of these policies would be unfortunate and a huge step back for the people of the world.

It is inconceivable that you would come to impose your model of trade on territory which is ours, even more so considering that Chile does not recognize the legal existence of our people; when the International Labor Organization's (ILO) Convention 169 on the Treatment of Indigenous Peoples has not been ratified in Chile; and that after fourteen years of a supposed democracy, the Chilean state continues using the same repressive laws of the military dictatorship to surpress our just demands.

We most sincerely expect that you will consider the issues we are raising; otherwise, we must inform you that you will not be welcomed to our territory, and as long as the present conditions we denounce do not reverse themselves, we will express ourselves liberally against the trade which you promote and which are a threat to our collective dignity and rights. We hope that you answer the call from not only the Mapuche people, but from the people across the world that are concerned about these issues.

We will be present in large numbers in Villarrica and Pucon, in demonstrations and on Friday, June 4 at the Forum of Indigenous People and Social Organizations, an "alternative summit" to the APEC meeting convened by the Coordination of Territorial Identities and Mapuche Organizations, and integrated by numerous Mapuche organizations and Non-Governmental Organizations. We will discuss the numerous impacts of trade on Mapuche communities, and strategies for confronting these impacts.


Subscribing organizations:

- Identidad Lafkenche Tirúa, Adolfo Millabur, Iván Carialo / - Tirúa Sur, Roberto Garrido, David Huenupil / - Huentelolen, interlocalidades, Juan Carlos Polma / - Comunidades del Budi, Jorge Pichuñual, Armando Marileo. / - Consejo territorial Lafkenche, Domingo Raín, Pérsida Cheuquenao (Teodoro Schmidth). / - Consejo de werkenes, Joel Maripil, Julio Chehuin - Comunidades de Toltén, Edelmira Huechán, Mirta Ñancuán. / - Comunidades Maiquillahue, Boris Hualme / - Osorno, comunidades williche, Miguel Cheuquepán. / - Carahue, Asociación pu lafkenche, Wladimir Painecura. / - Federación Williche de Chiloé, Sergio Cuyul. / - Asociación Nepén de Ancud, Chiloé, Pedro Naguil. / - Coordinación de comunidades en conflictos ambientales, Luis Cañulef. / - Temuco, Sergio Caniuqueo, profesionales Mapuche. / - por Agrupación Konapewman Temuco, Alfredo Seguel, Pablo Huaiquilao, Gabriela Calfucoy, Eduardo Rapimán. / - Corporación de mujeres Mapuche Aukinko Zomo, María Isabel Curihuentro, Ana Tragolaf / - Casa de arte Mapuche, Rayen Kvyeh / - Corporación Xeg Xeg, Francisco Caquilpán. / - Centro Mapuche Liwen, Pablo Marimán. / - Comunidades Nueva Imperial, Audiel Millapi. / - Comunidades Chol Chol - Imperial, Emilio Painemal. / - Organización territorial Wajontu Coj Coj Mapu (Chol Chol), Juan Painemal. / - Por Villarrica, Corporación Villarrica María Luisa Nahuelpán.; Corporación Komkeyuayin, Benjamín Caniulef; Asociación Wanglen Villarrica, Juana Curio; / - Identidad Nagche, Lumaco, Traiguén, Los Sauces, Asociación Ñankuchew, Alfonso Reiman. - Sociedad Wanglen, Lumaco - Traiguén, Galvarino Reiman. / - Traiguén, Temulemu, Juan Pichún. / - Santiago, Consejería indígena Urbana, José Llancapán, Eugenia Calquín; / - Perquenco, Savaria , Lucrecia Antileo. / -Panguipulli, coordinadora Williche, Pikun Wiji Mapu, Jorge Hueque. / - Consejo de lonko Pikun Wiji Mapu, lonko Agustín Nahuelpán, Werkén Jorge Abello / - Melipeuco, pewenche, Alfonso Melillán.. / - (Puelmapu, Argentina) Coordinadora de organizaciones Mapuche C.O.M, provincia Newkén. / - (Puelmapu, Argentina) Organización Mapuche - Tehuelche 11 de octubre, provincia de Chubut. / - (Canadá) Comités de apoyo al Pueblo Mapuche. / - (Suecia) Centro de documentación Mapuche Ñuke Mapu, Jorge Calbucura. / - (Gran Bretaña) Enlace Mapuche Internacional, Reynaldo Mariqueo. / - (Holanda) Fundación Mapuche - FOLIL, Rafael Railaf Zuniga.

A brief history of the Mapuche people The Mapuche People are a society that has existed over thousands of years, with their own cosmovision, language, way of life and organisation; they developed as a free, independent and sovereign Nation, living in a large area of the territories that are known today as Chile and Argentina. They were the only original people in America that were able to successfully resist the invasion of the Spanish crown for over 300 years, between the 16th and early 19th centuries.

Once the Chilean and Argentine states had been formed, after 1810, following independence from Spain, various failed attempts were made to invade the Mapuche territory. These actions finally paid off at the end of the 19th century after a brutal war, following which the Mapuche were transformed into an oppressed, colonised and impoverished ethnic-national minority, subjected to a system of domination through the imposition of a nation state, expressed in all spheres: political, economic, social, cultural, religious and ideological.

On the Chilean side alone, from 1881 until the beginning of the 20th century, the state plundered 95% of the historical territory of the Original Mapuche Nation, depriving them of 9,500,000 hectares of their territory. A very similar process occurred in Argentina.

In the early 20th century, following these invasions into Mapuche territory, the states of Chile and Argentina agreed a new colonialist policy along with European States offering incentives to various European settlers, mainly in the south, the result of which was the arrival of thousands of "settlers", mainly from Germany, Italy, Switzerland and Holland, among others, who occupied huge swathes of Mapuche land without payment of any kind.

Today, most of these lands are in the possession of major economic groups, such as forestry, fishing, mining, oil and hydroelectric companies, huge tourist projects or large estates owned by the descendants of European colonists now running enormous transnational companies.

In their just struggle to recover their territory and dignity, as well as in the exercising of their political, civil and social rights, the Mapuche People are the victims of constant, systematic and planned violations of their human rights.This is expressed through the use of police aggression aimed at imprisoning those who take action and thwarting their claims by using a compliant legal system. In both Chile and Argentina, the Mapuche People are also the victims of the plundering of their identity and resources by large economic groups, who are actually the real powers in close alliance with and decisively supported by the Chilean and Argentine states, who, in the name of the dominant economic model, are currently oppressing all those who defend their rights.

We call upon the Mapuche organisations and territorial entities, the Indigenous Peoples and Nations, all those people and local and international social organisations that aspire to creating a just society founded on respect for life and cultural diversity, to be aware, participate, support us and denounce this new colonialist imposition, the instrument of which (APEC) attempts to establish itself as a seed of destruction in the heart of our territory. We call upon you to act and state your views.

Mapuche Organising Commission - Social Forum and Indigenous Peoples Co-ordination of Mapuche Organisations and Territorial Entities E-mail: foromapuche2004 at


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