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Chile president meets with ministers after attack

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 6, 2013 at 7:59 pm •  Published: January 6, 2013
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Under Chilean law, a state of emergency can be declared in instances of internal war or serious local strife. It allows the president to ban meetings and demonstrations and restricts movement of citizens for 15 days.

Pinera inherited the conflict in Araucania from successive administrations that, like his, have also been unable to successfully address land claims that have erupted in clashes with police.

Human rights and Mapuche groups criticize the use of the anti-terror law, calling it an abuse of power and say the government should instead focus on reaching out to the Mapuche.

Demands for land and autonomy date by the Mapuche date back centuries. They resisted Spanish and Chilean domination for more than 300 years before they were forced south to Araucania in 1881. Many of the 700,000 Mapuche who survive among Chile's 17 million people still live in Araucania.

A small fraction have been rebelling for decades, destroying forestry equipment and torching trees. Governments on the left and right have sent in police while offering programs that fall far short of their demands.

"The rise in demonstrations by our Mapuche communities are due to the lack of justice and the rejection of any type of productive dialogue on the restitution of our territory," Mapuche leader Juana Calfunao wrote in Mapuexpress, an online site that reports on the issues of the Mapuche.