Centro de Documentación Mapuche Documentation Center

Public Declaration

Mapu Domuche Newen

Women with the power of the land

Santiago, Wednesday March 7th, 2001

francais - castellano

The Mapuche Pehuenche women and their friends in opposition to the mega project Ralco, declare the following:

On Thursday, March 8,  the case against the validity of Endesa’s energy concession will be heard in the tribunals of justice.  This hearing will determine whether the indigenous law, passed during the concertacion government of Patricio Alywin, or the electric law, issued during the military dictatorship, will enjoy precedence in the eyes of the government.  We hold that the indigenous law of 1993 is the only recognition afforded to indigenous communities in Chile and expect that the ruling will reflect the willingness to protect our rights.  We expect also that the energy concession given to Endesa will be declared null and void.  Our community finds itself threatened and cornered, but our Pehuenche women refuse to give up our ancestral lands so that they can be flooded.  Even so, Endesa and the Chilean government insist on taking them illegitimately.  This is why we again denounce project Ralco as a genocidal project that has materialized within a framework of serious irregularities that include human rights abuses and violations.

Endesa, without due acknowledgement of the pending case against them,  continues illegal construction of the dam in a maneuver designed to pressure our resisting Pehuenches.  Endesa has acted with impunity.  Its latest fingerprints are all over the destruction of our sacred cemeteries, dealing yet another blow to our dignity and to that of our ancestors.  With these acts, which go unpunished, the Chilean government manifests its deference towards foreign capital at the expense of the Pehuenche people.

We want to denounce, because we should, that the extermination of our Pueblo Mapuche Pehuenche from the Alto Biobio region is being carried out with the full support of  Endesa- Spain, the Concertacion, Eduardo Frei, Ricardo Lagos and CONADI.

The trampling of our rights to exist has forced us to demand the following from President Lagos:

1. That he ask the commission on human rights to review the Ralco case in virtue of the countless violations that are associated with it.
2. That he issue an immediate executive order to stop the construction until the results of the investigation are made public.
3. That he grant indemnity to all the Pehuenche workers that are laid off as a result of the construction halt in order to prevent political maneuverings from being made in the interests of Endesa.
We would also like to take this opportunity to express our full support to all of our brothers and sisters who are currently fighting for their rights, especially to our Pehuenche brothers and sisters in the Queuco region who are fighting to recover legitimately the lands that belong to their ancestors: Trapa-Trapa, Malla Malla and Caunicu.

Finally, we wish to communicate that starting at 9PM Wednesday 7 and ending the next morning, the Pehuenche women and their friends from diverse social, student, environmental and indigenous organizations will be united in an all-night vigil in front of the courthouse to wait for the ruling.  For this vigil, we hope that our brothers and sisters will join us in unity to say… NO TO RALCO!!!


Mapu Domuche Newen and Pehuenches against the Ralco Dam in Alto BioBio.

Nicolasa Quintreman Calpan, Berta Quintreman Calpan, Rosario Huenteao, Hilda Riquelme Huenteao, Ana Treca, Francisca Treca, Sara Imilmaqui Aguas and Antolin Curriao.