Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

WEB NEWS

Brazil's presidential election seen from the web

Read more

WEB NEWS

Ivory Coast launches the "Soap Bucket Challenge"

Read more

#TECH 24

Anonymous Vs ISIS

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola virus: US to send 3,000 troops to West Africa

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Nigeria attack: Bomb blast in college in Kano

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Ebola: Lockdown brings Sierra Leone capital to a halt

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy's political comeback: did he ever leave?

Read more

DEBATE

The World This Week

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

Travel chaos: Air France pilots take industrial action

Read more

Political and social events from the Americas, with exclusive reports and interviews. Our journalists also give you a quirky take on the news! 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

2014-09-18 Canada

US strategy to combat the Islamic State group

Barack Obama was elected on a promise to get the US out of Iraq. But the rise of the Islamic State Organisation is forcing him to rethink that decision. As the US president heads...

Read more

2014-09-10 corruption

When the American dream becomes a nightmare

Braving an outcry from Latino voters, Barack Obama has delayed immigration reform which could change the lives of millions of undocumented workers in the US. Next, Brazilian...

Read more

2014-09-03 USA

Obama under pressure over Syria strategy

This week, as a second American journalist is beheaded by Islamic militants, Barack Obama comes under increasing pressure to figure out his strategy on Syria and Iraq. Next,...

Read more

2014-08-28 immigration

US journalist Peter Theo Curtis freed in Syria

This week, after 22 months of captivity in Syria, reporter Peter Theo Curtis has returned home to the US. Next, Ferguson, Missouri says its final farewell to Michael Brown....

Read more

2014-08-20 USA

Ferguson riots: Pressure mounts on Obama

The shooting death of an unarmed black teenager in Missouri has unveiled deep-seated racial tensions in the US, and pressure is mounting on President Obama. Next, in northern...

Read more