Tuesday, October 22, 2013

WNU #1196: Chilean Police Raid Mapuche Community

Weekly News Update on the Americas
Issue #1196, October 20, 2013

1. Chile: Special Forces Raid Mapuche Community
2. Mexico: US Spied on Former President Calderón
3. Mexico: Guerrero Campesino Leader Gunned Down
4. Dominican Republic: CARICOM Condemns Anti-Immigrant Ruling
5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Haiti, Grenada

ISSN#: 1084 922X. Weekly News Update on the Americas covers news from Latin America and the Caribbean, compiled and written from a progressive perspective. It has been published weekly by the Nicaragua Solidarity Network of Greater New York since 1990. It is archived at http://weeklynewsupdate.blogspot.com. For a subscription, write to weeklynewsupdate@gmail.com. Follow us on Twitter at http://twitter.com/WeeklyNewsUpdat.

*1. Chile: Special Forces Raid Mapuche Community
Some 300 Chilean police agents carried out a raid on the morning of Oct. 9 at an estate occupied by members of the indigenous Mapuche community of Temucuicui in the southern region of Araucanía. According to community members, agents from the carabineros militarized police destroyed houses and crops, beat residents and ran over sheep with their vehicles, killing 15 animals and injuring many others. At least four people were arrested, including werken (spokesperson) Mijael Carbone Queipul; his wife, Susana Venegas Curinao; werken Jorge Huenchullán; and his brother, who was reportedly wounded by a bullet.

The police operation took place at the Nilontraru estate, which is claimed by landowners René Urban and Luis Valenzuela. The Temucuicui community says the estate is on ancestral Mapuche land, and community members have been living and farming there for two years. Temucuicui residents are actively reclaiming land from estate owners, including estates officially belonging to the landowner Martín Ruf and the Zeit family. These actions have apparently brought reprisals from the government, including a raid on May 23 of this year. Police also attacked community residents on July 23, 2012, shortly after the Mapuche occupied another estate; the agents shot two minors at close range with rubber bullets, provoking outrage and protests in other parts of Chile [see Update #1138, where the landowners’ names are given as “Ruff” and “Seinz”].

Temucuicui werken Jorge Huenchullán traveled to Europe in September and addressed the 24th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva on the situation of the Mapuche in Chile. He also presented the Mapuche case in meetings with members of the European Parliament. The Temucuicui community believes that the Oct. 9 raid was the government’s response to Huenchullán’s European visit. (Radio Universidad de Chile 10/9/13; UNPO (Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization) 10/10/13; Adital (Brazil) 10/15/13)

The Mapuche are the largest indigenous group in Chile, and the Mapuche organization Meli Wixan Mapu sponsored an indigenous rights march in Santiago on Oct. 12, the official anniversary of the arrival of Spanish colonizer Christopher Columbus in the Americas. “Today is not a day to celebrate,” one protester said. “It is a day to condemn and repudiate all the abuses that we've suffered for more than 500 years.” The march, which drew thousands of indigenous people and their supporters, was peaceful until the end, when some confrontations broke out between police agents and protesters at the corner of Miraflores and Agustinas streets. (CNN Chile 10/12/13; Huffington Post 10/15/13)

Mapuche activists in Melipeuco, a town in Cautín province in Araucanía, won a victory at the beginning of October when the Ingeniería y Construcción Madrid Limitada company withdrew its plan to build a $24 million hydroelectric plant on the Truful-Truful river [see Update #1167]. Mapuche organizations were joined by tourism interests in filing complaints against the plan with the government’s Environmental Evaluation Service (SEA) charging that the dam would compromise the Trayenko area, which is sacred to the Mapuche. (Kaos en la Red 10/8/13)

*2. Mexico: US Spied on Former President Calderón
The US National Security Agency (NSA) hacked into the public email accounts of former Mexican president Felipe Calderón Hinojosa (2006-2012) and members of his cabinet, according to an Oct. 20 report in the German newsweekly Der Spiegel; the report was based on a secret NSA document leaked by former US intelligence technician Edward Snowden. This is the second revelation in less than two months about US spying on a Mexican president. On Sept. 1 Brazil’s Globo television network presented other documents leaked by Snowden showing that the NSA intercepted text messages from current Mexican president Enrique Peña Nieto in June 2012, while he was still running for the presidency [see Update #1191]. Former president Calderón, a leader in the center-right National Action Party (PAN), was an exceptionally close ally of the US government.

The US accessed Calderón’s email in an operation codenamed “Flatliquid” and run by the NSA’s Tailored Access Operations (TAO) department. “TAO successfully exploited a key mail server in the Mexican Presidencia domain within the Mexican presidential network to gain first-ever access to President Felipe Calderón’s public email account,” an NSA document reported in May 2010. Since cabinet ministers also used the Presidencia email domain, the NSA now had access to “diplomatic, economic and leadership communications which continue to provide insight into Mexico’s political system and internal stability,” the agency reported. It described the president’s office as “a lucrative source.”

Other NSA documents show intensive US spying on the Mexican government. In August 2009, the agency gained access to the emails of officials in the Public Security Secretariat (SSP), a federal ministry which was replaced early this year by the National Security Commission (CNS). An NSA document from 2009 highlights the agency’s “tremendous success” in spying on Mexico and looks forward to “future successes”: “These TAO accesses into several Mexican government agencies are just the beginning--we intend to go much further against this important target.”

Asked by Der Spiegel to comment, the NSA responded: “We are not going to comment publicly on every specific alleged intelligence activity, and as a matter of policy we have made clear that the United States gathers foreign intelligence of the type gathered by all nations.” (Der Spiegel 10/20/13 (English language edition))

*3. Mexico: Guerrero Campesino Leader Gunned Down
An unidentified man assassinated Rocío Mesino Mesino, the director of the leftist South Sierra Campesino Organization (OCSS), in the early afternoon of Oct. 19 near the community of Mexcaltepec, Atoyac de Alvarez municipality, in the southwestern Mexican state of Guerrero. Mesino was hit by four bullets, apparently from an AK-47 assault rifle. The killer escaped in a vehicle driven by another man; the military and the municipal police searched for the assailants but reported no success.

The killing was carried out in front of dozens of witnesses. Mesino was standing with her sister Nora and other family members at a site where some 60 workers were repairing a bridge damaged in mid-September by the tropical storms Manuel and Ingrid. The OCSS leader, who held a local office from 2009 to 2012 as a member of the center-left Party of the Democratic Revolution (PRD), had opened a canteen for the workers a week before the assassination.

The Mesino family has been the subject of attacks since the time of the federal government’s “dirty war” against Guerrero leftists in the 1970s, when Mesino’s 20-year-old uncle Alberto was disappeared. The Mesinos and other local leaders formed the OCSS on Jan. 14, 1994; a little more than one year later, on June 28, 1995, state police killed 17 OCSS members in what is known as the Aguas Blancas massacre. Rocío Mesino’s father, Hilario Mesino Acosta, was detained by the federal government along with then-OCSS director Benigno Guzmán Martínez for a period in the late 1990s. Her brother Miguel Angel Mesino was held on homicide charges for 10 months in 2003 but was released; three unidentified men gunned him down in broad daylight on Sept. 18, 2005, near the police station in the Atoyac town center [see Update #818]. Rocío Mesino herself was detained on Mar. 13 of this year in connection with the homicide of Victorino Luengas García, who was kidnapped and then murdered in June 2011 in Coyuca de Benítez, Guerrero, but Judge Marco Antonio Ordorica released her after six days for lack of evidence.

At least six other leftist leaders have been murdered recently in Guerrero. Arturo Hernández Cardona, Félix Rafael Bandera Román and Angel Román Ramírez, three of the eight leaders of the Iguala Popular Unity, were found dead on June 3, a few days after they were kidnapped near the Mexico City-Acapulco highway. Raymundo Velázquez Flores, director of the Emiliano Zapata Revolutionary Agrarian League, and two colleagues were murdered on Aug. 5 in the outskirts of Coyuca de Benítez. (La Jornada (Mexico) 10/20/13)

Correction: Alberto Mesino was originally identified as Rocío Mesino’s brother; he was her father’s brother.

*4. Dominican Republic: CARICOM Condemns Anti-Immigrant Ruling
The Guyana-based Secretariat of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM), an organization of 15 Caribbean countries, issued a statement on Oct. 17 criticizing a ruling by the Dominican Republic’s Constitutional Tribunal (TC) that denied citizenship to people born in the country to undocumented immigrant parents [see Update #1194]. Immigrant rights activists say the TC’s Sept. 23 ruling affects more than 200,000 Dominicans, mostly the descendants of Haitian immigrants, and includes people born as early as 1929 who have been recognized as Dominican citizens for more than a half century. The ruling makes people “stateless in violation of international human rights obligations,” the CARICOM statement charged; the Secretariat called on the Dominican government to protect the rights of “those made vulnerable by this ruling and its grievous effects.” Haiti is a CARICOM member; the Dominican government has indicated that it plans to join. (New York Times 10/17/13 from AP)

The ruling has sparked demonstrations in Haiti and at least two protests in New York City, which has large Dominican and Haitian communities. A group called the Haitian Diaspora for Civic and Human Rights (HDCHR) held a protest on Oct. 17 in front of the Dominican consulate in New York. “Stop racism,” “End apartheid,” “No ethnic cleansing” and “There’s genocide in the Dominican Republic” were among the slogans on protesters’ signs. A number of Dominican community organizations endorsed the action, including La Aurora Community Action, the Association of Progressive Women and the Dominican Woman’s Center. About a dozen Dominican activists had held a separate protest earlier in the month in front of Boricua College in Northern Manhattan and announced plans for further demonstrations. (Diario Horizonte (Santo Domingo) 10/4/13; Diario Libre (Santo Domingo) 10/14/13; AlterPresse (Haiti) 10/17/13)

*5. Links to alternative sources on: Latin America, Chile, Brazil, Ecuador, Venezuela, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Haiti, Grenada

Latin America Builds Momentum Against U.S.-Backed Drug War

Sustainable Food Systems for Security and Nutrition: The Need for Social Movements (Latin America)

“The Rise of the Middle Class” in Latin America? The World Bank is Still Tone Deaf After all These Years

Indigenous March in Chile’s Capital on Columbus Day

Chile’s 40 Year Anniversary in Photos: Part 1, Recovering Memories

Good News for World Food Day: Suicide Seeds Are Dead… for the moment (Brazil)

Lawfare: Ecuador’s New Style of Governance?

From Intag: An Open Letter to Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa

The Venezuelan Revolution Has Brought Substantial Improvements to Working-Class Neighbourhoods

Diego de Holguín Boulevard: A Case of Rampant Corruption in El Salvador and One Government’s Quest for Justice

El Salvador: Activists Struggle to Recover Human Rights Archives

Are Honduran Election Polls Reliable?

Columbus Day, Chiapas Style (Mexico)

Mexican Federal Court Halts Invasion of Genetically Modified Corn

U.S. Crisis Unsettles Mexico

Mexico: Bracero Guestworkers, Unpaid

Photo essay: One-year Anniversary of the Death of José Antonio Elena Rodríguez (Mexico)

Haiti’s Apparel Factories: Reports Find Wage Theft, Sexual Harassment, and Poor Safety and Sanitation Standards

Lawsuit Filed in Federal Court Against UN over Cholera (Haiti)

Grenada Preparing Unique Approach to Debt Restructuring

For more Latin America news stories from mainstream and alternative sources:

For immigration updates and events:


Your support is appreciated. Back issues and source materials are available on request. Feel free to reproduce these updates, or reprint or re-post any information from them, but please credit us as “Weekly News Update on the Americas” and include a link.

Order The Politics of Immigration: Questions & Answers, from Monthly Review Press, by Update editors Jane Guskin and David Wilson:

No comments: