Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

EYE ON AFRICA

Gigantic snails are a delicacy in Ivory Coast

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Hollande and Valls tell Trump, 'France is still France!'

Read more

THE DEBATE

It's all about Trump: how effective will the Democratic Party campaign be?

Read more

FOCUS

Indian women on frontline of battle against alcohol

Read more

FRENCH CONNECTIONS

35 hours: Are French workers lazy?

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Race to the White House: Hillary Clinton's popularity problem

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

HRW chief Kenneth Roth: 'Putin cares about European public opinion'

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

Facebook profits soar 186% as user numbers surge

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Turkey: 'Once upon a time, there was a democracy'

Read more

Political and social events from the Americas, with exclusive reports and interviews. Every Wednesday at 5.45 pm Paris time.

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Latest update : 2010-02-24

Who should take the lead in rebuilding Haiti?

In this edition: as Haiti is still reeling from the earthquake, the focus now shifts to reconstruction efforts; in Chile, the indigenous Mapuche people are fighting to recover land annexed by the government over a century ago; and the US military is using an increasing number of unmanned drones that kill the enemy without putting soldiers in harm's way.

The Mapuche people fights to recover land, by Antoine Raux

Virgin forests, rivers, we are in Araucania, the heartland of the indigenous Mapuche people, 700 kilometres south to Santiago. A seemingly quiet countryside, but now considered a conflict zone by the Chilean state. Here, 10 years ago, the Mapuches, for a long time marginalised, woke up to recover their ancestral territory.

"Here on both sides you have private properties. To reach our community you need to cross these lands that are under police surveillance. Look! There you have a cabin where they are stationed 24hours a day with dogs", says Rodrigo Huenchullan, driving on a dirt track of Temucuicui commnunity.

After many illegal occupations, this autonomous community of 120 families has obliged the state to buy nearly 2000 hectares that had been appropriated by a forestry company. And the struggle is going on to recover more land. But anti terrorist laws, inherited from Pinochet, are still used to threaten indigenous activists.


"Here all the members of the community have been to jail. All of them know what it is to be imprisoned, to have to operate in secret. They all know what suffering is", says Jorge Huenchullan, spokesman of the community.


In the detention centre of Temuco, the provincial capital, many militants are incarcerated. Sergio Quidel, the leader of the Coordinnation Arauco Malleco (CAM), one of the more radical Mapuche groups, is among them. We have been authorized to meet him in the prison: "We have been accused of arson and attempted murder. But they can never prove anything. Every time we are victims of a police set-up. We are political prisoners", affirms the militant.


The redistribution of land to indigenous people began after the return of democracy in Chile. Since then 600.000 hectares have been returned. The Mapuche people claim 6 million. Every time the government gives back a property, it organizes a flashy ceremony in a hotel. A governmental party which is not to Gladys Trañalao's taste.


"This is a right, not a gift. I could have done without the ceremony. I would have preferred something simpler, and quicker." says this heiress of one acre of land that belongs to her father.


Nothing similar happened to mark the return of the 270 hectares of the Santa Margarita estate. In august, the assassination of a 20 year old militant accelerated the process. In an attempt to buy peace, the property has been given to one of the more violent communities.


"The policeman who killed one of our brothers has been promoted. When this kind of thing happens, we truly feel like we are from a different country", says a member of the Juan Catrilaf II Comunity.


The Mapuche people claim self government on all the territory that is historically theirs. But their experience leads them to fear that the new government will instead favour forestry companies that exploit the country’s rich natural resources.
 

 

Programme prepared by Gregory White

COMMENT(S)

Archives

2016-07-28 US Presidential Election 2016

Race to the White House: Hillary Clinton's popularity problem

This week, Hillary Clinton officially became the first female nominee of a major US political party. But she has been dealt a blow by a hacking scandal: leaked emails suggesting...

Read more

2016-07-20 Donald Trump

US presidential race: The story of Melania Trump

This week, as Donald Trump is officially nominated as the Republican Party's candidate for the White House, his wife takes centre stage with a speech that sounds awfully...

Read more

2016-07-13 Barack Obama

After Dallas, where is the 'Black Lives Matter' movement headed?

This week, Barack Obama tells Americans the country is not as divided as it seems, despite last week's series of killings. Also, Chile tries to save its children from unhealthy...

Read more

2016-07-06 space

Brazil scrambles to get ready for Olympics

This week, Brazil is scrambling to get everything ready, with less than a month to go before it hosts the Olympic Games. Also, we head to the US where Tesla Motors faces...

Read more

2016-06-29 Panama

Panama: Triple X canal for giant cargos

This week, we take a look at the Panama Canal’s makeover: It's now wider, deeper and once again fit to carry the world's biggest ships. Also, one in five Puerto Ricans risk...

Read more