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Mapuches incarcerated

The artwork continues to develop.  The sketch above shows on the ground the stars in much the same way as I had it in ‘The thought process & the Mapuches’ published on April 1, 2012.  In contrast to the sketch on ‘The thought process & the Mapuches’ some of the stars are now standing on barbed wire.

The barbed wire

These stars standing on the barbed wire represent the Mapuche people who are incarcerated due to Chile’s unfair and discriminatory anti-terrorist law No.19.027 introduced in 1984[1] by the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

The Mapuche and the Mapuche extremists

Unfortunately there are some Mapuche extremists who are frustrated and angry at the way the Chilean government has dealt with the Land Rights issues.  These Mapuche extremists stage land occupations and have been known to damaging private property and arson[2].  I urge you to note that although the majority of the Mapuche population shares the same frustration as the extremist, they go out onto the streets and conduct peaceful protests without doing any harm to property or any one else.

The Anti-terrorist law – La Ley Anti-terrorista.

This anti-terrorist law does not discriminate; women, minors and men are all trialed under the same law.  This is an outrage.  In Australia this would not happen.

Towards the end of 2010, 52 Mapuches were incarcerated, 40 of them were charged for terrorist crimes and serving sentences of up to 10 years.  The Observatorio Ciudadano’s lawyer Matías Meza-Lopehandia argued in court that for the term “terrorism” to apply these Mapuches would have to have showed “disregard for human life” yet there were no fatalities during their demonstration[3].

Unlike the harsh anti-terrorist law applied to the Mapuches in a court of law, a policeman who shot and killed a young activist by the name of Matías Catrileo was only charged with a two years suspended sentence in a military tribunal[2].

“The current anti-terrorist law is a modified version of the one that was introduced by the military government of Pinochet in 1984. Law 19,027 was originally designed to pursue armed political groups involved in kidnappings, attacks on police stations and assassinations. It is Chile’s most draconian law: it doubles the normal sentences for some offences, makes pre-trial release more difficult, enables the prosecution to withhold evidence from the defense for up to six months, and allows defendants to be convicted on testimony given by so-called ‘faceless’ witnesses, who are permitted to appear in court behind screens, invisible to the defendants and the public.”[4]

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ill treatment of the Mapuches in Chile.

The stars also represent the ill treatment of the Mapuches in Chile.

The Mapuche people are protesting and standing up for their rights, their land.  They want their land that was taken from them, to be given back.  The Mapuches go out onto the streets with their families, women and children, holding banners, playing their musical instruments, such as the one on this photograph, the Kultrun.  They protests against international companies that are now occupying Mapuche land.

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This is a very complex issue facing the Mapuches and the burden on the Chilean government.  There are many scholarly articles, documents from organisations (listed below), news paper if you would like to read more.

  • Amnesty internacional
  • Human Rights Watch
  • Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization

Take for example an article by Jalisco Guadalajara, issued by the Informador.com.mx on Thursday April 5, 2012.

The article concentrates on 2 Mapuche women; one was holding her child while she got hit by the Chilean policeman and the other a younger woman who was arrested  The article also shows the violent and abusive behavior of the police.

There is video evidence showing the bashing of the woman holding the child and the inappropriate treatment of both women by Chilean police.  The article mentions their charges as: public disorder, unlawful treatment of a police officer and damage to public property.

The interesting fact about this article is that the video was accepted by the Chilean court of law as evidence, not the norm by any means[5].


[2] Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) The Hague, Netherlands.  Submission to the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. Universal Periodic Review: Chile

[3] Pamela Sepulveda, ‘Discrimination directed against the Mapuche Indians’, Global Research, February 12, 2010.  Accessed April 9, 2012.

[4] http://www.lab.org.uk/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1159:chile-accused-of-racist-use-of-anti-terrorism-laws-against-mapuches&catid=57:focus&Itemid=39  Accessed April 6, 2012.


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