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Mapuche International Link receives death threats after unfounded ‘terrorism’ accusations from Argentine Vice President.
Press release for immediate use: December 8th 2017
Mapuche International Link (MIL), a Bristol-based organisation that seeks to promote Mapuche culture, history and human rights, is under fire after Argentine Deputy President Gabriela Michetti implied serious allegations on a TV programme hosted by Mirtha Legrande on December 2nd. The Vice President alleged that an organisation from the U.K. is supporting and coordinating terrorism in Mapuche territories. Mapuche International Link is the only indigenous Mapuche organisation in the U.K. These unfounded accusations have led to the targeting of MIL volunteers, including a death threat made to Reynaldo Mariqueo, General Secretary, by anonymous individuals.
This incident is not isolated. The threats have intensified after comments were made by Argentine Minister of Security Patricia Bullrich in July, alleging that the Bristol-based voluntary organisation, is funding terrorism in Southern Argentina.
Bullrich has repeatedly claimed that the ‘RAM’ (Resistencia Ancestral Mapuche or Mapuche Ancestral Resistance) an ‘armed terrorist’ group, are receiving funds for operations from a ‘source in the UK’. The existence of RAM is unproven, with no Mapuche known to identify as being members of RAM. Yet this has not stopped the Argentine government from claiming that the threat of RAM justifies violent police responses to Mapuche-led protests and land reclamations. One such police response led to the death of a young Mapuche man, Rafael Nahuel on Saturday 25th of November. He was just twenty-one years old when he was shot in back by the military police. The police have alleged he was throwing rocks at them.
Carole Concha Bell from Mapuche International Link said “The claims made by Michetti are not just untruthful, they are fuelling violence towards an ethnic group that is already subject to abuse and violence. Mapuche International Link is run by a small group of volunteers and is certainly not financing any initiatives in the U.K. or abroad. The so-called ‘RAM’ looks like a fabrication that is useful for the repressive authorities in both Chile and Argentina, to justify violent evictions, imprisonment of community leaders and killing of unarmed Mapuche youths.’
‘We will be writing to the Argentinian ambassador yet again seeking to clarify his position with respect to our organisation. If the Argentinian media continue to scapegoat us, we will continue to receive death threats and abuse. This is simply unacceptable.’
The organisation will be handing a letter to R. Carlos Sersale di Cerisano, the Argentine Ambassador in London, later this month, asking him to clarify the official position on these allegations
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NOTES TO EDITORS
For further information please contact Mapuche International Link:
Press Officer Carole Concha Bell:
Reynaldo Mariqueo (General Secretary):
Mobile: + 44 (0) 7813 9797 12
Links and information:
https://youtu.be/ndkLvAWki3c (Allegations start from 1:20)