Ecuador: Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) Statement on coup attempt

Saturday, 02 October 2010

[For information on CONAIE, see their website at or–ed.]

CONAIE Calls For Unity In Order To Establish The Plurinational State Of The Peoples In Ecuador

Today, the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador (CONAIE) expressed its opposition to the actions of the right that covertly attempt to encourage a coup attempt.

It also condemned the economic and social policy of the government of Rubén Correa and reiterated that it will continue fighting for the construction of a Plurinational State with a true democracy.

In a statement released today, the largest indigenous organization of Ecuador noted that the process of change “runs the risk of being defeated (…), if it does not establish alliances with organized popular sectors”.

The social crisis that broke out today has been caused “by the government and the refusal to engage in dialogue regarding the drafting of laws,” the organization indicated. Continue reading

Chile: At the Roots of Mapuche Resistance

Freedom for all Mapuche political prisoners

Backgrounder on the situation facing Mapuche people in Chile and a look at Canada’s role

by Dawn Paley

More than 34 Mapuche political prisoners in Chile have entered into day 69 of a hunger strike to bring attention to their struggle and force significant changes in the way the Chilean state treats Mapuche people.

The hunger strike has entered into a critical and possibly deadly phase: Bobby Sands, an Irish revolutionary and a well known casualty of hunger striking, died after 66 days. Other hunger strikers have survived for longer, including Mapuche woman and ex-political prisoner Patricia Troncoso, who refused food for 112 days to protest the “predatory and inhumane economic model” in Chile and the still active anti-terrorist laws used to criminalize the Mapuche people.

The central demands of the hunger strikers and their supporters are that Mapuche people be tried in civil courts instead of in both civil and military courts, and that dictatorship-era anti-terrorist legislation not be used against them. Their struggle, at its roots, is in defense of their territory and culture, and in that way is similar to the struggles of Indigenous peoples around the world. Continue reading

International Spotlight Increases on Mapuche Crisis in Chile

by Kara Frantzich

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

“Mapuche have been ignored by the courts for years,” says Amnesty International

International attention has turned to Chile’s south, now that the Mapuche hunger strike is in a critical stage — more than 65 days after it began.

Four opposition deputies joined the strike last week, as did an indigenous leader from Puerto Montt. The Catholic Church’s Bishop Ricardo Ezzati, of Concepción, hopes to mediate a resolution between the government and the strikers, despite the strikers’ request for direct dialogue with the government.

Ten prisoners began a dry strike Monday, refusing water as well as food. Forced feeding has kept the 34 Mapuche prisoners alive. Most of them have been fasting for some 66 days.

Amnesty International has condemned the forced feeding as torture, citing the World Medical Assembly Declaration on Hunger Strikes from Malta in 1991. It states that “forcible feeding is never ethically acceptable. Even if intended to benefit, feeding accompanied by threats, coercion, force or use of physical restraints is a form of inhuman and degrading treatment.” Continue reading

Chile: No dialogue in Mapuche conflict

September 10, 2010

ILS in the media

By Daniela Estrada

The Chilean government is pushing through legal reforms in an attempt to bring to an end a nearly two month hunger strike by 34 Mapuche indigenous prisoners. But it is failing to address two critical aspects of the conflict: the lack of effective dialogue and a failure to recognize it as a political problem (although Chile ratified the ILO Convention 169 on Indigenous and Tribal Peoples in 2008).

“The Mapuche people’s demands don’t only have to do with the Mapuche. It’s a problem of Chilean society as a whole,” José Araya, coordinator of the Citizenship and Intercultural Program of the Observatorio Ciudadano (Citizen Observatory, a local NGO), told IPS.

A group of Mapuche inmates who describe themselves as political prisoners declared a hunger strike on Jul. 12. They were gradually joined by others, to reach a total of 34 fasters, held in different prisons in southern Chile. Continue reading

O’odham to National Guard: ‘We do not want you on our land’

[The O’odham people’s lands are on both sides of the US-Mexico border.  Truly, they do not cross the border–the border crosses them.  They have resisted every violation of their people, from the horrific border wall to the ongoing degradation at the hands of the Border Patrol. Their struggle should be supported by all.-ed.]

August 29, 2010

Ofelia Rivas, traditional O’odham living on the border, released a statement to the National Guard, who are to arrive on the US/Mexico border in Arizona on Monday.

file photo

To the United States National Guard arriving in O’odham Lands,

We are not compliant people, we are people with great dignity and confidence. We are a people of endurance and have a long survival history. We are people that have lived here for thousands of years. We have our own language, we have our own culture and traditions.

You are coming to my land, you may find me walking on my land, sitting on my land and just going about my daily life. I might be sitting on the mountain top, do not disturb me, I am praying the way my ancestors did for thousands of years. I might be out collecting what may be strange to you but it might be food to me or medicine for me.

Sometimes I am going to the city to get a burger or watch a movie or just to resupply my kitchen and refrigerator. Some of us live very much like you do and some of us live very simple lives. Some of may not have computers or scanners or televisions or a vehicle but some of us do. Continue reading

Second Wave of Global Protest in Support of Mapuche Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Chile

August 19, 2010

Mapuche International Link

A second wave of global protest was initiated by the families of Mapuche political prisoners and hunger strikers on Weds 18th of August. The worldwide protest took place in the following countries, Chile, Argentina, England, France and Norway amongst numerous others.

In London a demonstration of solidarity with Mapuche hunger strikers took place in front of the Chilean embassy and was a well attended and peaceful event. Amongst its supporters were UK based NGO, Mapuche International Link, the Association of Chilean ex- political prisoners in the UK, Colombian Solidarity Campaign, Latin American Coordination, Memoria Historica, and many independent pro-Mapuche sympathisers.

In Temuco, Chile, peaceful demonstrations were again disrupted by unsolicited violent police repression against the Mapuche supporters. The protest was marked by 56 arrests, including that of Catalina Catrileo sister of Matias Catrileo a Mapuche youth previously murdered by Chilean police during a peaceful land rights demonstration. Continue reading

Hundreds of Brazilian Indians Gather for Protest

by Survival International
16 August 2010

The gathering will highlight the plight of the Guarani

Hundreds of Brazilian Indians from across the country are gathering to highlight the killing of their leaders, the theft of their land for industrial projects, and other threats to their survival.

Around 800 Indians representing many of Brazil’s 233 tribes are expected to attend the protest, from 16- 20 August.

The rally is being held in Mato Grosso do Sul state, south of the Amazon, to draw attention to the critical situation faced by the indigenous peoples of that state, especially the Guarani Indians.

The Guarani’s lands have been stolen to make way for cattle ranches and sugarcane plantations, and the Guarani have one of the highest suicide rates in the world.

The protest will also highlight growing anger amongst many tribes who oppose the government’s plans to build a series of huge dams and roads in the Amazon.

It is being organized by the Association of Indigenous Peoples of Brazil and the Forum in Defence of Indigenous Rights.

The Indians have invited all the candidates in Brazil’s upcoming presidential election to the rally.

Survival’s Director Stephen Corry, said today, “The current government has woefully neglected Brazilian Indians, and now they’re calling out to the presidential candidates to listen to their needs. They expect the new President to take action to safeguard their lands.”

Chile: Campaign in Support of Mapuche Political Prisoners Gains Momentum

August 12, 2010

A campaign declaring solidarity with 31 detained Mapuche hunger strikers has attracted substantial local and international attention to the Mapuche struggle.

Below is a press release issued by Mapuche International Link:

In a declaration of solidarity with 31 detained Mapuche hunger strikers whose current medical status is of grave concern, Mapuche International Link’s (MIL) General Secretary, Reynaldo Mariqueo, will lead members of a delegation including Ms Jimena Castro and Mr. Roberto Navarrante – both of whom are members of the Association of Ex Chilean Political Prisoners -to formally declare their opposition to the Chilean government’s continued application of Pinochet-era anti-terrorism legislation against Mapuche democratic protest. The event, which will involve the presentation of a letter to the Chilean Minister Counsellor at the Chilean embassy tomorrow and is timed to commemorate the ‘International Day of Solidarity with the Mapuche Political Prisoners on Hunger Strike’ on 12 August 2010.

The meeting, which begins at 15:00pm today, 12 August 2010, will discuss the deteriorating health of the political prisoners, some of whom have been on hunger strike since July 12th, 2010. Originally, the protest broke out in response to the refusal of the Chilean authorities to recognise both the human rights of the detainees and the essentially political nature of their indictment and detention. Although news coverage of the action has been severely curtailed by a government ‘blackout’, the hunger strike has already inspired Mapuche communities in cities across Chile to take to the streets to declare their support. Continue reading

Indigenous tribes occupy dam in Brazil, demand reparations

Amazon HOSTAGE: A group of about 100 workers are being held hostage by up to 400 Brazil native indians at the building site of a hydroelectric plant.

Jeremy Hance

July 27, 2010

An indigenous group in Brazil has taken over a hydroelectric dam, which they state has polluted vital fishing grounds and destroyed sacred burial ground. They are demanding reparations for the damage done and that no more dams are built in the region without their prior consent.

The occupation of the dam began on Sunday when approximately 300 Indians from eleven different tribes took over the Dardanelos Dam in the Brazilian state of Matto Grosso. Despite wearing war paint and bows and arrows, the occupation was said to be non-violent and no injuries have been reported.

Initially the indigenous protesters held some 150 workers at the dam, but have since released the employees. The tribes are currently holding talks with government officials and representatives from the dam in hopes to come to an agreement to end the standoff.

A spokesperson with the Enawene Nawe tribe, one of the tribes represented in the action, told indigenous rights organization Survival International that “[they] joined the protest to raise awareness about the damage the dams cause, about the recognition of our land and the dangers of future projects like this”. Continue reading

35 Years Ago Today–June 26, 1975

Leonard Peltier

June 26, 1975

On June 26, 1975, two agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI)—Mr. Jack Coler and Mr. Ron Williams—entered private property on the Pine Ridge reservation, the Jumping Bull Ranch. They drove unmarked vehicles, wore plain clothes, and neglected to identify themselves as law enforcement officers. They allegedly sought to arrest a young Indian man, Jimmy Eagle, for the theft of a pair of cowboy boots. They believed, the government contends, that they had seen Eagle in a red pick up truck that they then followed onto the Jumping Bull property.

Members of the American Indian Movement (AIM) were camping on the property at the time. They had been invited there by the Jumping Bull elders, who sought protection from the extreme violence on the reservation at that time. Many non-AIM persons were present as well.

For unknown reasons, a shoot-out began. A family with small children was trapped in the cross fire. Throughout the ranch, people screamed that they were under attack and many of the men present hurried to return fire. Continue reading

Protests challenge Ecuador indigenous summit

It was all smiles inside the summit

Saturday, 26 June 2010

Left-wing Latin American leaders have signed a declaration to promote indigenous rights.

The presidents of Ecuador, Venezuela and Bolivia signed the document at a summit in Ecuador.

Cuba, Nicaragua and Dominica were also represented.

Outside the venue, Ecuador’s main indigenous organisation protested, saying it had not been consulted.

The “Declaration of Otavalo” is the latest initiative of the Bolivarian Alliance for the Americas (Alba), a left-wing grouping founded by President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela.

It promises to build societies that respect the rights of Latin America’s indigenous people, as well as those of African descent.

It also pledges to protect the “Mother Earth” with development that respects the environment.

“We have to get rid of capitalism and protect the earth, protect nature” said Bolivian president Evo Morales, who is an indigenous Aymara.

But Ecuador's indigenous leaders felt excluded.

Indigenous unity?

President Rafael Correa of Ecuador said the main challenge was to pull indigenous people out of centuries of poverty and exploitation.

But outside the venue, representatives of Ecuador’s main indigenous confederation, Conaie, staged an angry protest, saying their views were not being represented.

Indigenous leaders tried to get into the summit to hand a written statement to Mr Morales, but were held back by police.

Conaie – the Confederation of Indigenous Nationalities of Ecuador – was one of Rafael Correa’s main allies when he won the presidency in 2006, and again in elections last year. Continue reading