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Santiago Maldonado “el Lechu”, anarchist comrade in the defence of the Mapuche people, has disappeared at the hands of the Argentinian Gendarmerie
On August 1, 2017, the repressive forces of the Argentine state raided with brutal violence the Lof of Mapuche Resistance of Cushamen, province of Chubut, in the south of the country near the Chilean border. This territory, originally of the Mapuche people, was taken by the government to make it available to capitalism and devastation.
And so continues the harassment and plunder that the indigenous population faces from the formation of the Argentinian and Chilean states (borders, moreover, that do not correspond with the ancestral indigenous territory and because of which they cannot move freely). Plundering that already began much earlier, from what they call the “discovery” of America: the beginning of a colonizing massacre that has never ended and which without criticism or responsibility, is still being taught as an achievement in the schools of the Spanish State. Any type of devastation serves as a business: logging, oil extraction, hydroelectric power plants, the infinite hectares of transgenic crops, or as in this case: animal exploitation, as these lands were appropriated by the Italian company Benetton (Land Company of South Argentina) and on them they exploit one hundred thousand Sheep for the production of wool.
The Gendarmerie entered the community firing lead bullets and rubber balls, assaulting people and burning their belongings.
Some people crossed the river to escape and several claim to have seen some being hit and taken away in a van. Since then nothing is known of Santiago Maldonado. He is not registered in any of the police stations of the region and the nation’s security minister, Patricia Bullrich, took five days to say that the Gendarmería is not involved in his whereabouts.
This raid is not an isolated case: it happened in the same Lof last January and is part of the everyday life of the Mapuche people and all indigenous communities who are resisting and facing physical and psychological harassment by State forces. This means: lead bullets, destruction of their homes and belongings, physical and verbal aggression, intimidation, illegal espionage and political and police assemblies to justify the imprisonment of its most active members. This is the case of Facundo Jones Huala, a Mapuche warrior arrested in June, jailed in Esquel and currently on hunger strike.
Shortly after a demonstration demanding the freedom of Facundo in which nine were detained in the city of Esquel, the Gendarmerie intervened in the Lof of the Cushamen Resistance and kidnapped Santiago.
The same head of the State security cabinet, Pablo Nocetti, states that it is coordinating repressive actions against members of the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM). It also supports violent and illegal interventions and searches in communities.
The RAM is a Mapuche resistance group struggling to take back their life in the territory originally inhabited by its people in order to thus to give continuity to its existence, that the States want to destroy by all means. Because this existence is not governed by its norms and does not admit submission.
This Friday 11 there is a national demonstration in Argentina, any sign of solidarity from this side of the Atlantic is important. Please spread this as much as possible and be aware of possible call-outs.
Enough police impunity and state terrorism
For the end of the harassment of the Mapuche struggle and the original inhabitants
For the freedom of Facundo Jones Huala
We demand that Santiago Maldonado be handed over
FROM THE MEDIA…
On Monday, a march in Buenos Aires calling for Maldonado’s safe return turned violent when hooded protesters chanting “long live anarchy, death to the state” hurled Molotov cocktails at police, attacked a journalist and smashed the window of a television van.