On December 24, 2021, eight Mapuche political prisoners from the Elicura valley were sentenced to 20-25 years in prison, part of the Chilean state’s repressive response to Mapuche land defense and territorial recuperations in the Labkenche homeland.
Below is a translation of the most recent communique from these prisoners, locked up in Lebu prison, who denounce the political nature of their case and commit to the continued struggle of the Mapuche people.
For those seeking more context, we’ve published an earlier communique from these brave fighters as well as an account of solidarity actions and an interview with an anarchist about the broader Mapuche struggle.
Mari Mari Kom pu che: To the different social organizations in struggle.
As Mapuche political prisoners from the Lov Elicura, we direct ourselves to the la kom pu che so they can hear our words and help share the cause and struggle we have sustained as Mapuches in our territories. We know well that in different prisons there are Mapuches locked up for struggling against the capitalist, racist, murderous system.
We pertain to the territory of Elicura. We are Labkenche Mapuche imprisoned in Lebu, living through a judicial process characterized by discrimination and racism. On December 24, 2021, we were sentenced to 20 and 25 years. The judges did not consider our defense, and we know well that our conviction is grounded in the cruelty of the Piñera government. It is a political condemnation. Behind it we have other far-right groups who seek to imprison us at any cost. They want us locked up because for many years we have defended our spaces against the installation of hydroelectric projects in the rivers of the Elicura Valley. Also, because we support the recuperation of land usurped by large landowners.
Now we are involved in a territorial conflict between members of the Meliman community and young people belonging to that same community. This conflict was provoked by the yanaconas (leaders) who left some people of the community without land, after that same land had previously been fought for together as a united community. However, the leaders divided the community by negotiating with the forestry businessman, Héctor Garcia.
We are eight Elicurache Mapuche prisoners: two from Lov Elicura, four from the Meliman community, and two from Lorenzo Huaquivil.
We are young people who distanced ourselves from those who negotiate with the rich for their personal benefit. We are young people with clear and firm thinking who want to care for and maintain our sacred spaces and land. We will not sell or lease at any cost. We only protect our itrobill mognen (principles of life).
We are not against sustainable development, but we are against that which damages our natural recourses like hydroelectric projects, salmon farms, mining exploration, and pine tree monoculture of the Mininco and Arauco forestry companies.
Those projects do not bring sustainable development to our lands. The only thing they bring is devastation, draught, and misery for our people. As young people, we are here in the dungeons of this prison, enduring this unjust sentence given to us by a state-sanctioned court.
For us Mapuches, there is no justice, only racism. For the poor Chileans it is the same. We all know that in this country justice is for the rich who manage all of the capital. They will never be behind bars because they are the owners of everything. They manage everything. That is why we speak to you from here so that you can show solidarity with our cause and lend a helping hand in the struggle.
On January 3, 2022, we presented an appeal to nullify the conviction, seeking a fair trial and our freedom. Nothing in this trial justifies such a conviction. We need to raise awareness and apply pressure around this struggle in order to somehow achieve justice.
We salute all of the expressions of struggle that are rising up in the different territories. We urge you to continue forward and not let down the guard, to continue resisting, to continue struggling, to maintain our natural resources. We are not engaged in terrorism nor brutality. We are leaving a better future for the coming Mapuche and non-Mapuche generations.
Freedom to the Mapuche political prisoners in the prison of Lebu and the prisoners of the Chilean revolt.
From the prison of Lebu
Labkenche Mapuche Political Prisoners from the Elicura Valley
January 12, 2022