France, April 1979
The new indigenous law of
22 March constitutes yet another antidemocratic and demagogic attack on
fundamental rights by the Chilean military government. A collectivity has
been denied the fundamental right to participate and decide on measures
The dangers of
the recent law were pointed out by Mapuche representatives of three
provinces in September 1978. It implies the loss of lands into the hands
of powerful economic groups and the loss of traditions and culture through
the disintegration of Mapuche communities, an increase in poverty and finally
the extinction of the Mapuche as People.
According to the
new law, the Mapuche Indian who accepts individual ownership of his land
ceases to be considered a Mapuche, which shows that the purpose of this
law is to put an end to the existence of our people.
It is an antidemocratic
law, because it has been arbitrarily imposed, since the Mapuche communities
did not have a copy of the text, nor did they participate in drawing it
up; moreover, it ignores the principle of majority consent, since a demand
by one individual can cause the breakup of a Mapuche community.
It is a demagogic
law, because the dictatorship claims that the law implies technical, economic,
social and educational aid for the Mapuches, with the aim of eradicating
poverty, when in reality it has blocked credits and technical assistance,
and medical services have been commercialised, student grants and hostels
have been stopped, and even official statistics show a decrease in agricultural
production in the provinces of Malleco and Cautin, inhabited by large Mapuche
We denounce this
trick, which is part of an attack on state holdings and an economic policy
designed to hand everything over to the monopolies, and which subjects
the Mapuches to legalised usury.
We call on all
organisations and individuals who defend human rights to denounce this
new law, which represents a serious threat to the Mapuche peoples' survival.
We call on all
to protest in the strongest terms to the Chilean government, especially
the Ministry of Agriculture, which is responsible for this law.
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