Humanist Party (PH) head Tomás Hirsch joined Mapuche associations
Wednesday in lambasting the political right for attempting to link
Chilean Mapuche groups to the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia (FARC).
“These accusations profoundly offend the Mapuche people and the
conscience of all Chileans. They demonstrate the government and the
right’s pathetically weak argument to justify a persecution and
usurpation,” said Hirsch, who plans to run for president in the upcoming
“The evident intention is to criminalize and to divert attention from
the real problem, which is the military occupation of regions in the
south of the country,” he added.
This week, news of a report submitted by Sen. Alberto Espina to Chile’s
National Public Prosecutor's Office and the National Intelligence Agency
leaked to local media. Espina is a member of the center-right National
Renovation Party (RN), whose de facto head – Sebastián Piñera – is an
early favorite to win next year’s presidential election. Espina claimed
to have found proof of a correspondence between the FARC´s late
second-in-command, Raúl Reyes, and a Chilean correspondent named “Roque.” According to the report, Roque solicited FARC military
assistance for training Chilean activist groups (ST, Sept. 9). Over the past several days, the allegations have dominated headlines in Chile’s
According to Hirsch, the leak is part of an overall attempt by the RN to
gain ties with Colombia, one of the few Latin American countries
currently led by a conservative government. Indeed, Piñera visited
Colombian President Álvaro Uribe this past July.
“Accusations of a link between Mapuche people and the FARC based on
names that have appeared in e-mails and without any fundamental proof is
like saying that if Bin Laden had a thorn (“espina” means thorn in
English) in his shoe, Sen. Espina has been in contact with him,” said
Hirsch. “We demand that Sen. Espina explain his relationship with Bin
Indigenous leader Ricardo Inalef
Joining the PH leader in condemning what they view as a conservative
smear campaign was Ricardo Inalef, spokesman for the Autonomous Mapuche
Council, which represents Mapuche communities in Regions VII, IX, and X.
“The only matter that remains clear from Senator Espina’s declarations
is how he and the right have historically despised our people,” said
Inalef. “We believe that the insistence of this senator from the right
(Espina) corresponds to the creation of a climate that in many ways
legitimizes the violence and genocide that is being applied to our
Hirsch and Inalef made their comments one day after Chile’s Chamber of
Deputies met to discuss two bills dealing with government language when
addressing the “Mapuche conflict” and implementing more public politics
to decrease conflicts between Mapuche and non-Mapuche farmers,
especially in the Araucanía (Region IX).
Although the Chamber had specially requested that Interior Minister
Edmundo Pérez Yoma, who heads the country’s police and military force,
appear in the session, the top cabinet official failed to appear. Pérez
Yoma excused his absence by saying he had to attend an anniversary
celebration of the integration of Easter Island into Chilean territory.
By Thomás Rothe ( email@example.comThis e-mail address is being
Last Updated ( Thursday, 11 September 2008 )