reblog: chile / indigeneity, protest, hunger
The hunger strike is a product of “the desperation of the Mapuche community members, who see all of the doors closing and that there is no political will to engage in talks and recognise the existence of a conflict” over land, Fernando Lira, the head of Liberar, a non-governmental organisation that is providing the prisoners with legal aid, told IPS.
The Mapuche community’s ancestral territory spans the southern tip of South America across Argentina and Chile. The Mapuche — who make up 87 percent of indigenous people in Chile — number around one million in this country of 16 million.
The Mapuche lost most of their territory in the late 19th century. Later, under the Pinochet regime, forestry companies and other firms interested in operating in undeveloped parts of the country were offered incentives like land and subsidies. As a result, indigenous communities, who generally have no formal title to their ancestral property, continued to be forced off their land.
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