The Coalition to Protect the Coastal Range of
the Los Lagos Region
Osorno, Febuary 13, 2001
Gathered here in an assembly following three months
of work, we the affected Huilliche Mapuche communities of San Juan de la
Costa, Rio Negro and Purranque hereby appeal both to the authorities and
to public opinion at large, declaring the following:
contamination of water sources by sediments and garbage.
We depend for our livelihood on the natural resources provided by the coast.
The forests, the beach, the ocean and the rivers are essential for our
survival. It is from these that we are able to extract the water
for our thirst and that of our animals, the firewood that we use and sell,
the medicinal plants for our health, and the seaweed for our diet.
The coastal territory in which we live include sacred places that aside
from having tourist value, are of great importance to our culture.
In its current dimensions, the construction of the coastal highway would
directly affect these natural resources and, consequently, our ability
to make use of them. A few examples of this include:
destruction of grazing lands and the trampling of both domestic and wild
diminution of the availability of firewood, medicinal plants, seaweed and
other important resources.
These effects would be caused by the construction of the highway itself
as well as by the subsequent arrival of the logging and tourist industries
to the area. In a massive operation, the logging companies are set
to exploit our native forests, clearing them and replacing them with pine
and eucalyptus trees, eventual plantations that would be at odds with our
way of life and destroy our environment. The tourist companies would,
in turn, expropriate our most beautiful and most sacred of places.
In virtue of the above, we communicate:
The construction of the coastal highway has begun without any notification.
Even though it is occurring on our lands and will therefore directly affect
us, we were neither approached nor consulted.
Our territorial rights, inherited from our ancestors, are being violated.
The same goes for our rights under the indigenous law (#19,253), which
guarantees both the recognition and protection of current indigenous lands.
The coastal highway project, in its present dimensions,
guarantees the deterioration of our culture, the plunder of our ancestral
lands and the loss of our most needed natural resources, effects that will
only lead our pueblo Huilliche towards extinction.
Under the banner of poverty reduction and market
integration, a development situation is being crafted for us, one that
will actually increase poverty in, and migration from, our communities.
The ministry of public works has failed to respect the agreements already
reached with those Huilliche families whose land would otherwise be subject
to forfeiture under article 95 of law # 1,939, passed in 1977 by the military
junta. This move leans on the questionable legitimacy of the decree
which states that land titles can be expropriated by the federal government
so that they may be used for roads, trains, telegraph offices and any other
public works deemed necessary by authorities. The utilizing of such
a decree not only represents a trampling of property rights, it also enters
into illegality in that it goes against the indigenous law of 1993.
denouncement of the planned coastal highway in its entirety, along with
the arrival of the logging, the mining and the fishing industries.
They represent a clear and present threat to the economic and cultural
reproduction of our communities.
demand for the right to be informed and to participate in the decisions
that will affect our livelihoods.
demand for the recognition of our territory and the right to own our lands
and waters. We demand the respect for our nuke mapu and the
cultural diversity offered by our pueblo Huilliche.
need to build and better our local roadways as an alternative for the reduction
of poverty and isolation.
right to be supported by government institutions in our efforts to develop
with identity and dignity, and with respect for our future.
United behind the merits of our case and of the rights
that we hold:
The communities of,
Lafquen Mahuidam de Caleta
Mapulafquen de Pulamemo
Trafunco Los Bados
Mahuidantu de Bahia San Pedro
Junta General de Caciques
de la Butahuillimapu
Coalition to Protect the
Coastal Range of the Los Lagos Region email@example.com