Friday, June 16, 2006

Free Mapuche Political Prisoners Now!


Not one more day for workers and anti-imperialist fighters in the jails of the Concertacionista governments (Pinochetista regime’s administrators)!
Out with the transnational companies from Chile and Araucania! (3)
Out with imperialism from Latin America!
Out with the GOPE (4) and their Pinochetista repression of Araucania!
For the self-determination of the Mapuche Nation-People!
For the immediate return of the stolen lands of the Mapuche people!

More than 60 days have passed since The Mapuche political prisoners Juan Carlos Huenulao, Florencio Jaime Marileo, Juan Patricio Marileo and Patricia Troncoso went on hunger strike. This desperate and brave action started March 13 within the Anglol jail in the 9th region, to demand their freedom after being condemned in 2005 to 10 years and 1 day in prison and forced to pay a fee of 425000000 Chilean pesos (approximately 850,000 US dollars).

The regime accused them of attacking in 2001, 100 hectares of forest of the transnational company Matte Mininco. They were applied together with ten other anti-imperialist militants the severe “Antiterrorist Law”, imparted by Pinochet himself in 1984, during the bloody years of military dictatorship. This law was “rectified” by the Christian Democratic concertacionista government of Frei in 1997-98.

This imperialistic capitalist system with its thirst for profits has turned our country -like the rest of the world- into a dirty prison. To the jails of this prison capitalists push the people who say STOP! after having endured unheard suffering, submission, robbery, repression, exploitation and oppression. Jail is what the system schemes for them if they confront imperialism and its client states, regimes and government, if they defy their agents in our ranks, the reformist leaderships and union bureaucracy in order to recover what was grabbed from them; if they take the law into their own hands and aim to expropriate the expropriators of the working class and the poor people !

In the US this absolutely reactionary system has sent the Homeland Security special police into Latin neighborhoods, who have arrested 1,100 ‘illegals’ after the immigrants’ demonstrations on April 10. In France 4000 young workers (800 are still in prison) were arrested during the riots in November, 2005. The same happened in last March-April.

Late last April Bush lackey Fox government In Mexico, killed two striking miners at Sicartsa, leaving other 2 with life-threatening injuries. Today this repression continues against the militant street vendors in San Salvador Atenco and Texcoco who are supported by the workers and students(5). In Bolivia Evo Morales government sent military forces to break LAB airline workers’ strike. At the same time, Morales shamelessly asked for Mapuche prisoners freedom… while he is keeping in jail the “comuneros” from Ayo-Ayo, Bolivia!

The imperialist system is also responsible for the repression, imprisonment, tortures and all kind of genocidal activities against all those who fight for the independence of the Basque Country, Ireland, Chechnya, Kurdistan; etc.; also against the Palestinians fighting for the destruction of this Bush’s gendarme in middle east, the Zionist-fascist state of Israel.

In our country, “socialist}” Lagos and Bachelet, are completing the process of making Chile into a stronghold of imperialism in Latin America (The 53rd star on the US flag, another treasure chest of the British imperialist pirates’ and a viceroyalty of the Spanish monarchy…). They have committed themselves to a terrible Pinochetista repression, using the police apparatus formed during the military dictatorship to attack the striking subcontracted miners of La Andina and El Teniente, Codelco’s copper mines.(6) They are using the police to repress the college and high school students and building a police state in the Mapuche communities by means of the GOPE. There the special forces are ambushing and killing militants as they did to the young martyr to the Mapuche cause, Alex Lemun in November, 2002.

Bachelet has avoided speaking about the hunger strike of the Mapuche political prisoners. A government spokesman, Lagos Weber, however, said that: “The prisoners are serving a sentence required by the state penal justice”. Meanwhile, senators and deputies of the SP, the PPD and even the Christian Democrats,(7) are hypocritically proposing reforms in the “excessively harsh” Antiterrorist law. Moreover, the Public Ministry (8) and the Forest Mininco Co. propose diminishing the charges on the comuneros,(9) and the so much hated Interior (Homeland Security) Minister Andres Zaldivar today promotes a “socialist concession” that would allow the prisoners to be transferred to the Work Training Center (CET) at daytime while returning them to jail at nigh. A truly ridiculous proposal!

This way they hope to carry out the white-washing of the Pinochetista-concertacionista regime based on the 1980 Constitution to continue oppressing the Mapuche nation-people for the sake of imperialism. To make this anti-worker and anti-popular regime more acceptable to the masses the CP and the CUT,.(10) through their agenda “For more Democracy and Social Justice”, are promoting reforms to the electoral-binomial system,(11) to the pension funds, the subcontracting labor law.

This colonial regime - the executive branch and the parliament as well as the justice system--, like all the Latin American regimes under imperialism, cannot even grant the most elementary demands to the masses.

For example, the World Social Forum has declared the maximum expression of democracy to be the Bourgeois Constituent Assembly of Evo Morales..-an Institution to subordinate workers´ demands to the imperialist oil companies and the bosses’ association of Santa Cruz.

But in our country as in the rest of Latin America, the democratic demands for true justice, free elections, adequate pensions not subject to fraud, land and national rights of the Mapuche and other Indian peoples, can only be fulfilled by joining the working class, the peasantry and the Mapuche people in an all out struggle to defeat the Pinochetista regime and setting up their own workers’ and peasants’ government.

The imprisoned Mapuche comrades, who have been in prison since 2002, have adopted such an extreme measure as a hunger strike,(12) because the organizations that claim to defend the working class, the peasantry and the people’s rights have turned their back on the struggle for the land rights and self-determination of the Mapuche from the Chilean State, as they had always done before.

In 2004 the same happened to the political prisoners of the “democracy”. After 15 years in jail, they went on the longest hunger strike in Chilean history. It lasted 74 days, during which they were left to their fate by the CUT, the CP, the Confech, the different union federations, etc.(13) While they were giving a lip service “support”, they shamelessly said that solution would come through parliament. But life has shown that the only way to free our class sister and brothers from the jails of the regime is direct action, strikes, protests, the mobilization of millions in the streets, fighting for their freedom and setting up dual power institutions based on workers democracy and workers power to set them free.

The CUT, the CP, the Confech, the different union federations, etc, have in their hands the possibility of doing that. All those who are for the Mapuche political prisoners’ freedom, must break up with the regime and the government. Break up with all kind of conciliation and collaboration with bourgeoisie and call for assemblies, protests and strikes to demand the immediate and unconditional freedom of the militant comrades in jail!

With every new struggle (14) the Mapuche political prisoners have aroused increasingly militant solidarity to their fight for freedom, not only in our country but all around the world as well. First there were the comuneros of Arauco and Collipulli who together with relatives and friends have taken the demand for their immediate freedom in Temuco streets. Then the students from Universidad de la Frontera (UFRO) set up barricades, hurled stones and recently took the Andrés Bello campus to the shout of “Free the Mapuche in struggle”. The students from the Catholic University of Temuco (UCT) occupied their university to demand the release of the striking prisoners. From the Arica students at the University of Tarapaca (UTA) to the Iquique students at the University Arturo Prat (UNAP) to the students of the Pedagogical College in Santiago, the same as the students of the UTEM, the USACH and of the University of Chile, the majority of the university students have joined the fight for the Mapuche prisoners’ freedom. (15)

Beyond Chile the support is growing. In Argentina different activities have taken place such as the occupation of the Chilean consulate in Bariloche; marches and forumswere held in Buenos Aires. The same takes place in Europe. These actions confirm how important for workers and common people the Mapuche cause is. Even so, this is not enough to set them free. The Mapuche political prisoners as well as the internationalist militiamen in Guantanamo, the political prisoners of the Basque country, and the comuneros of Ayo-Ayo, Bolivia have turned into a symbol of the struggle to set free all the anti-imperialist worker and popular fighters all over the world who are now the hostages of the class enemy. To set them free it is necessary to build an international coordination of all workers, farmers, peoples’ and student organizations in struggle. Only thus we will be able to fight for their freedom until no militant for the exploited and oppressed of the world is left rotting in the jails of imperialism and its client regimes and governments!

  • Immediate and unconditional freedom for all Mapuche political prisoners, the imprisoned internationalist militiamen in Guantanamo, the Ayo-Ayo prisoners in the jails of Evo Morales, the Basque prisoners of the Spanish monarchy and the PSOE, and to all the political prisoners in the world!
  • Stop all persecutions, occupations, demolitions, humiliations and murders against the Mapuche People-Nation! GOPE out of Araucania! For immediate self-determination for the Mapuche People-Nation!
  • Stop the Homeland Security forces invading Latino neighborhoods in the US! Not one immigrant jailed or deported in the US! We demand the immediate release and citizenship rights for the jailed undocumented immigrants!
  • Down with the repression launched by US puppet Fox in Mexico against the miners of Sicartsa and the people of San Salvador Atenco and Texcoco! Immediate freedom and dropping of charges against the miners’ leader Napoleon Gomez Urrutia and the 217 imprisoned in San Salvador Atenco and in Texcoco!
  • Hands off Haiti all the imperialist troops! ¡Out with all the occupying troops of Bachelet, Lula and Kirchner, mercenaries of imperialism!
  • For the military defeat of the imperialist troops in Iraq! Out with the imperialist troops of Afghanistan and the entire Middle East! Hands off Iran all the warmongering US, British and French imperialists!

For the worker and popular fighters in the five continents to be set free and continue fighting hand in hand with the world proletariat, imperialism must die!

11 May 2006. Partido Obrero Internacionalista – Cuarta Internacional (Fracción Leninista Trotskista)


(1) Mapuche Nation. The Mapuche constitute the main indigenous group in Chile. The Mapuche indigenous people while extending over much of the Andes up into Bolivia are concentrated in the south of Chile in Araucania and Patagonia.

(2) Pinochetista -concertacionista means the regime that came after Pinochet’s but which followed his 1980 Constitution (that in turn was born from a consensus among the military together with their non-military partisans on one hand and the center-left parties on the other, with the acquiescence of the CP). The “concertacionista” parties (that is, the center left parties that pacted with the military the binomial electoral system that guaranteed the dictatorship a soft landing) were up to know the Socialist Party and the Christian Democratic Party, the PPD (Party for Democracy) and a bunch of very small parties that come basically from splits of the former two. From the electoral campaign of Bachelet’s the CP has become in its own right a concertacionista party in exchange for the promise of being allowed to get some seats in the parliament thanks to the reformed electoral system (see note 10).

(3) Araucania: The southern portion of the Chilean territory that is claimed by the Mapuche Nation as their ancestral land.

(4) Grupo de Operaciones Policiales Especiales (Special Police Force Group): the GOPE became operational in 1980 after receiving training from German and Israeli SF Teams. They are primarily a Special Forces/Commando unit but are also responsible for counter-terrorist duties in government and diplomatic buildings. GOPE's 100 man strength is roughly divided into four 25-man teams.

(5) More than 250000 miners and steelworkers walked off the job between March 1-3 in wildcat strikes at 70 companies in eight states from central to northern Mexico, virtually paralysing the mining industry. The industrial action by members of the National Union of Mining and Metallurgical Workers of Mexico (SNTMMRM) resulted from both labor union and political causes. The explosion and cave in at the Pasta de Conchos mine in San Juan de Las Sabinas, Coahuila in northern Mexico on Febuary 19 killed 65 miners. After General Secretary Napoleón Gómez Urrutia had denounced the “accident” as an “industrial homicide”, blaming the owner of the mine, Grupo Mexico mining company, the government aimed to replace him with Elías Morales Hernández, a union dissident who is reportedly backed by this corporation. In many mining towns and cities the miners marched and rallied demanding not only the restitution of their leader but also safer conditions.At the beginning of April, miners and steel workers launched a series of strikes for union autonomy. On April 20 eight hundred state and federal police launched an assault on 500 striking workers who had been occupying a steel mill in Lázaro Cárdenas. Two were killed, five seriously injured and 40 wounded. Union members and townspeople retook the plant while representatives from unions and human rights organizations converged on the scene. Meanwhile, Villacero Corporation, which owns the plant, accused the strikers of being “terrorists.” Mexican courts declared the strikes illegal, but the strikes continued with labor leaders calling for a nationwide one-hour strike on April 28. The Miners Union’s nationwide wildcat strike showed Mexican industrial workers’ taking center stage for the first time in decades, and the terrible repression, with deaths, injured and detainees are a demonstration of the fears of the ruling class in front of this phenomenon. The wider context of these events are the ever deepening crisis within the Mexican union movement (after the downfall of the PRI as the only party attaining government and pervading all the Mexican institutions) and the current campaigning of the three main bourgeois parties for the next presidential elections. Surveys show a very serious chance for the bourgeois nationalist, left populist PRD (Partido de la Revolucion Democratica, Democratic Revolutionary Party) of reaching the first place in the polls.
In San Salvador Atenco and in Texcoco, near Mexico City, different sectors of the poor –last year there was the very poor peasantry of the minifundios (tiny lots for subsistence crops), this year the street vendors of everything (a condition typical of workers that have lost their industrial jobs and of peasants that cannot get one)- have held long and violent battles with the police that tried to free the area to relocate and expand an international airport. The San Salvador Atenco townspeople, besides, have accused the police for rapes and torture, taking some police officials as hostages last month. The determination of these sector of the Mexican exploited has obliged the government to pact with them a truce, once and again. Which does not mean that it has abandoned its plan of ousting the inhabitants of the area, as shown by the harsh repression that it launches on them from time to time.

(6) Codelco is the Chilean state-owned copper company. The recent strike of subcontractors at these two mines was the subject of a recent statement of the FLT.

(7) The SP (Socialist Party) is the party to which Allende belonged. In the ‘70s it formed into the Union Popular (Popular Unity), a sui-generis Popular Front supported by the powerful Chilean CP. Former president Lagos was a SP member. The SP has given thoroughly pro-bourgeois, pro-imperialist politicians to the concertacionista regime, but even now lives on its historically “socialist” afterglow, though it has practically lost any resemblance to a “worker-bourgeois” Party. The CD (Christian Democratic Party), an old bourgeois party, representing traditionally the well educated, “progressive” (actually very reactionary) elites. It has given to Chile many pro-imperialist presidents, ministers, etc, etc., before and after Pinochet’s coup (which the CD promoted and applauded), the best known being the two Freis (father and son), who both excelled in their surrendering the country to the corporations’ appetite. The PPD –or Partido Por la Democracia-, the third party of the Concertacion, comes far behind in importance and in membership.

(8) A sort of ombudsmen’s office that has a nationwide jurisdiction.

(9) “Comuneros” refers here to the people that live in “comunas” or small ethnic communities, like the Mapuche Indians. There are other kind of “comuneros”, too, in Chile, being the comunas also small peasant or poor people settlements.

(10) The Chilean Communist Party is a powerful counterrevolutionary party that has dominated the life of the Chilean working class from the first decades of the twentieth century, having prevailed over the Socialist Party and some now defunct nationalist petty bourgeois movements in the leadership of the masses. Even the ‘70s and ‘80s guerrillas, as the MIR (Movimiento de Izquierda Revolucionaria, a mixture of left Communists and all sorts of small “Trotskyist” groups) and the MRMR (Movimiento Revolucionario Manuel Rodríguez, an ultraleft split of the CP) come totally or parcially from the CP, and are a product of the disillusionment of young CP militants before the thoroughly reactionary policies of its leadership. Today the Chilean CP (to the model of its old mentors and its new “models”, the Russian and Chinese former restorationist bureaucrats become new bourgeoisie, respectively) owns a chain of Jewelries, a net of cooperatives and cooperative banks, etc. The Chilean CP is an enthusiastic partisan and propagandizer of “market socialism”. The CP reigns in the CUT, or Worker Union Central, the powerful and until recently uncontested organization that centralizes the unions in Chile. Now there have appeared some new unions that criticize the CUT, and even confront it, influenced or led by left bureaucracies coming from fake Trotskyist or by “Classist” (left unionist) groups. Some of these new unions are the Coordinadora Nacional de Trabajadores Marítimo Portuarios (Nationwide Coordinating committee of Longshoremen and Sailors), the SinTrac (Subcontratist Workers Union), the CGT (General Confederation of Workers) Mosicam, etc.

(11) Up to now, the (“binomial”) electoral system consecrated by the ‘80s constitution allows for only two candidates, one from the “Concertacionista” parties –they first decide among them, essentially the SP and the CD, by means of a primary election, which candidate they present-. The other candidate comes from the Pinochetista –right wing, pro-military- parties which have also their own primary election (they are the UDI, Union of Independent Democrats, and Renovación Nacional –Regeneration of the Nation).

(12) An official notice of the medical examinations of May 4 confirms the serious condition of “Patricia Troncoso and Juan Patricio Marilao”. The latter displays generalized decay, loss of muscular force, intense migraines and has lost 16.6 of his body weight…”. The same agency says on May 10 (after 59 days of the hunger strike) “According to Juan Carlos Reinao, personal doctor of the Mapuche political prisoners, Juan Patricio Marileo must be hydrated urgently due to his present condition. Patricia Troncoso displays serious problems in one of his kidneys, and must have an urgent examination…”.

(13) The Confech is the university students’ union. About the “different federations”, see note 9.

(14) Official Press Release May. 10, 2006 AT 11:21 A.M. The encounter of solidarity with pres@s polític@s in Chile, before the hunger strike of the comrades Jaime Marileo, Juan Marileo, Patricio Troncoso and Juan Huenulao, who have been on strike for 62 days inside the Angol jail in Chile, we declared the following:
1. We demand that the government of Chile and its president Michel Bachelet release immediately our imprisoned brothers in the penitentiaries of Traiguen, Lebu, Conception, Temuco and the already mentioned Angol.
2. Reform of the provision in the law by which they were condemned to 10 years and a day, plus the payment of reparation of $423.000.000 (more than 65,000 euros) to Forestal Mininco S.A. For more than a month the new government of the Agreement has not responded to the demands of the strikers.
3. We asked for the immediate repeal of the Antiterrorist and Interior Security Law inherited from the dictatorship of Pinochet, under which our brothers were judged.
4. Stop the persecution of the Mapuche mobilization. We denounced the repressive policy developed by the Chilean State and supported an international judgment against the systematic violations of the human rights to the communities, those that are militarized and harassed constantly totally by the “forces of order” of the government of president Bachelet.
5. We appeal for international solidarity and mobilizations to support us and to condemn this repressive government. We do not accept that more comrades die in the jails while demanding justice. Already there it has taken a history of 500 years of hard struggle to get where we are. The workers of the world must make our struggle their struggle and to give our struggle more force. Our fight is the fight of all and we fight to the death. We call on all to come to a protest at 5 pm on 12 May at the Embassy of Chile in Buenos Aires. For a new society, for earth, culture and freedom. Their fight is our fight. For self-determination of the peoples. Freedom to all prisoners in struggle. Marichiwew! - Organisers: · Colectivo Desalambrando - · Repique · Equipo de Educación Popular Pañuelos en rebeldía”. · Estudiantes Chilenos y Mapuche en Argentina. · Agrupación de D.D.H.H residentes chilenos en Argentina. · Agrupación de Pueblos Originarios Ñukemapu - Acción directa estudiantil.

(15)The university students have voted in assemblies either to march, or to strike or even to take their campus in some cases, to show their solidarity with the Mapuche political prisoners in hunger strike. Take notice that this declaration was written prior to the eruption of the high school student rebellion of late May and early June.
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