Movements Demand That Chile Free Mapuche Indigenous Leader
TelesurTV, August 18, 2016
Marchi Linconao has been jailed by Chile since 2013 but the evidence that was used to detain her using an anti-terror law remains suspect, with the main witness retracting her statement.
Feminist and Indigenous movements in Chile are demand the freedom of Machi Francisca Linconao – an important spiritual leader of the Mapuche people – as human rights groups take her case to the United Nations.
Francisca Linconao, 59, has been jailed by the Chilean state since 2013, but recently her health has deteriorated and has reached a life-threatening state. The veteran Indigenous fighter was recently rushed to hospital with several conditions including chronic gastritis and reportedly weighs less than 46 kilograms.
Human rights organization the Citizen Observatory send an official request to the United Nations asking that it intervene and urge Chilean authorities to free Francisca Linconao and other Mapuche women who are being held by Chile as political prisoners.
The group aims to shame Chile for its failure to respect international agreements over Indigenous rights.
Francisca Linconao was accused of arson along with a group of ten others, which led to the deaths of two powerful landlords, Werner Luchsinger and Vivianne Mackay. However, the evidence that was used to detain her using an anti-terror law remains suspect, with the main witness retracting her statement.
Francisca Linconao is an important spiritual leader and is a ’Machi’ or Mapuche doctor, who are important figures in Mapuche culture. Mapuche believe they must be in contact with nature with both body and soul to be able to heal.
The Mapuche people in Patagonia are the largest indigenous population in South America and make up an estimated ten percent of Chile’s population. They have been involved in a continued struggle to defend their native land and traditional way of life despite many of their leaders such as Francisca Linconao being imprisoned.
The Mapuche were moved off the land by Spanish colonizers. Chile and Argentina also continued the oppression and more recently, private corporations have sought to move the Mapuche off their land.