The national government met this afternoon at exESMA with representatives of eight Mapuche communities from Río Negro, Chubut and Neuquén to assess the situation of the conflict in those provinces, but did not invite the representatives of the neighbors affected by the acts of violence.
The meeting, which lasted for several hours, was chaired by the Secretary of Human Rights, Horace Pietragalla, who promised to meet next week with members of the Villa Mascardi neighborhood council, one of the areas most affected by the Mapuche actions, which earlier and through a statement expressed his “great surprise, indignation and concern” because no member of the group or even people affected by the acts of violence suffered in the area had been invited to the table that was taking place today. “This table is with the peoples”they said to THE NATION from the Secretariat, through which they also confirmed the meeting next week between the Government and the residents and victims, for which there is still no precise date.
The invitation came after not having been invited to today’s meetingseveral members of the group, among them the president of the Board, Diego Fruits, were present at the exEsma and managed to be received by Pietragalla. There they asked that just as he summoned the towns, the neighbors be invited and the official agreed. From both sectors they highlighted the cordial exchange and the “good predisposition”.
In the meeting that took place today was the Nobel Peace Prize Adolfo Perez Esquivel Y Nora Cortinas, from Madre de Plaza de Mayo Línea Fundadora, who will monitor the dialogue table, together with entities such as Legitimate Justice, CELS, the Socialist Left and the Permanent Assembly for Human Rights of La Matanza and Bariloche, among others. These are organizations that have no connection with those affected by the occupations and attacks.
The conflict with the Mapuche communities has been in the south for several years, but it intensified at the beginning of last October when, after a series of attacks on properties in the area of Villa Mascardi, Río Negro, Several properties were set on fire. After that, security in the area was reinforced with a Gendarmerie detachment that was attacked, which led to greater intervention by federal forces in the area.
In one of the operations arranged by National Security, a group of women from the community were arrested and later transferred to Buenos Aires, which sparked complaints. Among them, that of the then Minister of Women, Gender and Diversity, Elizabeth Gomez Alcorta, who was a lawyer for Facundo Jones Huala, member of the community and fugitive from Chilean justice and is an active activist for the rights of indigenous peoples, who ended up resigning from her post amid severe criticism of the role of the national government in the case.
Among the repudiations, different Mapuche communities and organizations had warned about the “serious consequences generated by the imprisonment of the machi Betiana Colhuán”. On the day of the eviction, in addition to Colhuan, six women were arrested. Four of them remain under house arrest, in the company of their minor children, in a Mapuche center in Bariloche. Those who could not be found at any time were the men from the community, who fled to the mountains after the eviction and have remained on the run ever since.
After the issue visibly escalated the president Alberto Fernandez received on December 14 the referents of the aboriginal communities in the Casa Rosada.
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The Government met with the Mapuche communities but not with the residents of Villa Mascardi