|Asia-Pacific Co-operation meets on 4 -5 June 2004 in Pucón and Villarrica|
|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.
Spanish: firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com
Translated by Leslie Ray