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Plea from Chief Juana Calfunao

JOIN MY STRUGGLE!

JUAN PAILLALEF COMMUNITY THE TOTAL RETURN OF MY LANDS AND TERRITORIES!

MARRICHIWEU! (We will win ten times over)

JUANA CALFUNAO PAILLALEF
Lonko (chief) of the Juan Paillalef Mapuche Community
Defender of Human Rights
Founder of the Ethical Commission against Torture

THIS STRUGGLE DATES BACK TO THE YEAR 1906, TO THE TIME OF OUR FIRST LONKO (chief), JUAN PAILLALEF. WE HAVE LAND ENTITLEMENTS (Títulos de Merced) GIVING US LAWFUL OWNERSHIP TO THE LAND DATING FROM THAT TIME.

1 - The Juan Paillalef Community began the process of recovery of land in May 1998, (THIRD GENERATION); this recovery was hindered by the land owners Alvaro Taladriz, the Ríos Muñoz family, Muñoz Garcés, Villagra and the Barra family.
Our community filed a claim before the First Civil Court of Temuco, for the demarcation and enclosing of our lands, entered as case no. 94.055. This case was under Calfunao against Muñoz and others. However the courts did not have the judicial and political will to resolve our claim, this situation jeopordises the full development of our community.

2 - In 2001 the community established a new claim against the FRONTEL Electricity Company of the Ninth Region. This is on account of the illegal stations that have existed on the community's land for 16 years. These stations were installed without the consent of the community, violating the electrification law. This electricity benefits third parties, such as the wealthy families in the Lake Cólico area, an area which has access only for tourists and the residents of the area.
The Electricity Company became aware of this claim and ignoring the absence of the community members and the Lonko, the Company has proceeded to install a further 14 stations. This makes a total of 20 illegal pylons. To the present date the first civil court of Temuco has not delivered a decision on the claim. In these proceedings our community claims three things:

  • Withdrawal of the pylons to the local road

  • Electrical installation to the community free of charge

  • Compensation for 16 years of illegal presence of the pylons

3 - On 6 May 1998 a paramilitary group commanded by neighbouring landowners arrived in a van, along with their workers and using firearms to frighten the community members destroyed Juana Calfunao's house, crops and orchards. The facts were reported to the second Criminal Court of Temuco, filed under no. 105.333, denouncing unlawful association and the illegal carrying and keeping of weapons. The case is still dormant in the court after 6 years. By using these terrorist acts, the landowners want to halt the legitimate recovery of our lands and communities in the ninth region. Since the press is not divulging the truth of the situation in the ninth region and the government silences the facts, the Chilean and international communities remain unaware of what is really happening to the Mapuche people.

4 Since we have claimed our community rights, I and my family have constantly been the victims of death threats and persecution. In 2001, my husband, my son Waikilaf and I were beaten up by police officers from Police Station Number Two in Temuco, at the rural bus terminal. The police officers proceeded to arrest us for no reason, taking us to Police Station Two, where we were tortured and I suffered the loss of the child I was expecting. I was three months pregnant at the time. We then spent three days in solitary confinement in Temuco jail. These cases are on file in the military courts under proceeding no. 89-2000 and proceeding no. 15-2000, in the office of the public prosecutor of the Army and the policeforce of Temuco. So far these cases have remained unresolved.

5 - On 5 March 2002, I Juana Calfunao was carrying out some formalities to do with the education of my children Carolina, Jorge and Waikilaf, in the Temuco Town hall , when suddenly a group of police officers jumped on Waikilaf, for no reason, taking him by force to the police van. Seeing this situation, I ran to defend Waikilaf. When the officer whose surname was Palavechino recognised me, he proceeded to detain me along with my daughter Carolina, who is a minor. He attacked her with the gas canister he had in his hand and hit me in the mouth with a radio transmitter, knocking out one of my teeth and causing me to lose it. Currently my son is under a restriction order, (accused of abuse of police officers) with a directive to attend and sign in at the military public prosecutor's Office of Temuco on a regular basis. The clear intention is to disrupt his education, thus preventing him from continuing his law studies at the University.

6 - It is also public knowledge that on the 24 th June 2004 we were the victims of a arson attack against our house. Information on the arson attack is available on the Internet so we will just mention the most recent steps that have taken place in the courts.

  • The District Attorney conducting the investigation has made no progress since 26 June 2004 to prosecute those responsible for this cowardly attack.

  • To date he has carried out no serious investigations in spite of the fact that both communities have given information on those who may be responsible for the attack. He maintains the theory that the fire was accidental and has currently spoken to only one of the survivors, who was a witness to the fire, Don Pascual Namunacura Cañulao. The District Attorney conducted psychiatric tests on him in order to discredit the statements in which he affirms that the fire was caused by third parties.

  • During this week, the Juan Paillalef community, represented by lawyer Fredy Barriga Bucarey, will present a criminal action against those responsible for the fire.

We must also point out that the team of lawyers led by José María Bulnes, an academic at the ARCIS University of Santiago and Lawyer Roberto Celedón Fernández, resident of Santiago city, took up the legal cases of the Juan Paillalef Community in 1998 and abandoned the proceedings, without any explanation or reason. This was despite the fact that Non Governmental Organisations had financed these legal actions.

60 days after we discovered these facts, we travelled to various parts of the country attempting to find help, to prepare our case and to contact people that could support us via organisations, the media and the Internet. Finally, after doing everything within our power, we returned to our community to continue to live the harsh reality of our situation. As the local and regional authorities have been completely absent since the fire, we have since suffered six attacks on our home by people hidden under the cover of darkness. This was reported to the police of Los Laureles and to the public prosecutor Cristain Crisosto; However the Government and the judiciary appear to have had no desire to resolve our situation.

It seems we are condemned to live subject to acts of terrorism, perpetrated by these privileged landowners and aided by the Government of Chile. I am experiencing these trials and tribulations simply because I am claiming the lands of my community and the rights of my people.

I Juana Calfunao Paillalef, as an ancestral authority, do not want to die before seeing the community lands recovered. As this conflict has gone on for three generations I ask the whole world to help me maintain this territorial space for the tranquillity of my family and my people and to help me to pressurise the Government and the authorities so that the truth can light can exposed.

I NEED FINANCIAL HELP TO PAY THE FEES OF THE LAWYER WHO REPRESENTS US IN THE COMMUNITY'S LEGAL ACTIONS AND FOR THE SILKSCREEN, SILVERCRAFT AND WEAVING WORKSHOPS which were destroyed in the fire.

The resources generated by these workshops were intended to pay university fees, travel expenses, legal services, and for the subsistence of my home and the development of my community.

Any brother or sister, organisation, NGO, public body or union wishing to make a financial contribution, please contact me at the e-mail addresses that are indicated below or else contact our community directly.

At the moment I am barricaded behind an earth wall, protected by the battered tin left after the fire. Anyone wishing to visit can go to the Ninth Region,
JUAN PAILLALEF COMMUNITY,
MUNICIPALITY OF CUNCO, ON THE ROUTE TO LAGO COLICO,
VIA THE TOWN OF LOS LAURELES.
Contact: comunidadjuanpaillalef@yahoo.com
acadinhuentelao@yahoo.com.

IMPORTANT
We have all the documentation relating to the facts reported in this document. We also want to inform all the people or organisations that have offered their solidarity and support for our struggle that to date we have no type of economic support.

(This is a brief description of the background to our present situation).

Wallmapuche, Temuco , 22 September 2004

___________________________________

Translated by Leslie Ray

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