APEC Summit in Mapuche Territory - Chile

Canada, April 20, 2004

From April 29 to November 21 Chile will be hosting the Asian-Pacific Cooperation Summit for the 11th Finance Ministers Meeting. APEC is an organization of countries that are trying to reach a higher Neo-Liberal economic development of the Asian-Pacific area. They are using the commercial enterprise of services and technological investment with the objective to maximize the profits throughout the open barriers of the Global Economy.

The APEC Forum would gather representatives from 21 countries with diverse social, economic and cultural backgrounds. These countries are: Australia; Brunei Darussalam; Canada; Chile; the People’s Republic of China; Hong Kong, China; Indonesia; Japan; Korea; Malaysia; Mexico; New Zealand; Papua New Guinea; Peru; the Philippines; Russia; Singapore; Chinese Taipei; Thailand; the United States, and Viet Nam.

Human Right Issues are not on the agenda for this Forum of APEC, since many countries have committed violations against these basic rights. Half of the member countries of APEC still have the Death Penalty. China and Singapore have the highest rate of executions. Arbitrary detentions and torture are common practice in Korea, Philippines, Indonesia, Japan and Thailand. Freedom of expression is restrictive in countries such as Malaysia, Russia and Vietnam. In China the Government has incarcerated citizens that published opposing ideas on the Internet.

Women's Rights, sexual harassment in the work place and miserable salaries are a daily reality in more than half of the member countries of APEC. In the Guantanamo Concentration Camp there are 600 people including women and children. They are incarcerated there for two years already. The US government has not applied the International Norms of the Geneva Convention, neither the norms established in their own constitution.

Indigenous Peoples in Australia, Peru, Chile and Mexico are continually being oppressed, discriminated and their leaders incarcerated.

The core of APEC is the Nation-States and the big corporations of the member countries. Small and medium enterprises do not participate in the decisions of APEC. Even less heard are the voices of millions of workers of the Asian and Pacific countries.

On June 4 and 5, 2004 in Pucon and Villarica, Araucania Region, the Commerce Ministers Meeting of the 21 countries of APEC is going to take place.

The history of Pucon and Villarica, is a history of the plunder and encroachment of Mapuche ancestral territory. From the colonization, relocation and expulsion of Mapuche population of this area, it was possible to reproduce the infamous reservation system; which became a norm of the dominance of the Chilean Nation-State against mapuche People.

The undersigned organizations of this declaration denounce the Government's decision to hold this meeting in the Mapuche ancestral territory. It is a threat to Mapuche People, its organizations and the international Community that struggle for the respect and recognition of the social and cultural diversity of Indigenous Peoples.

The Government of Chile still maintains repressive policies, a militarized zone in Mapuche territory, imprisonment and judicial convictions against Mapuche leaders who struggle for the right to live and the integral develop as a people in their own territories.

We cannot accept an International Ministerial Meeting in Mapuche lands whose objectives are to reach an agreement on the monetary capital that would regulate and impose regional legislation. This would only benefit the transnational corporations and national entrepreneurs of APEC. These transnational corporations are responsible for the marginalization, impoverishment and repression of the Indigenous populations and other millions of workers in the world.

The ancestral rights of Mapuche People would not be recognized while the political and social sections that control the Chilean State persist to maintain racist and discriminatory policies against the Aboriginal Peoples. The unwillingness to recognize the identity of Aboriginal peoples is a reactionary, restrictive, exclusive and an unpopular policy. This policy is against the social-cultural foundations of Chile.

The International Community and the progressive Chilean organizations have already denounced and asked an end to the antiterrorist legislation against Mapuche leadership. They have been asked to suspend the illegal procedures of police raids over/against Mapuche Communities. And finally to stop with all kind of repression and aggression against women, men and children.

We are not opposed to the commercial exchange among peoples. First Nations developed different forms of trade. We are in favor of a fair commercial trade of services, exchange and technology that would be in balance with the respect of Human Rights and the environment. We are in favour of commercial enterprises that would benefit millions of peoples of APEC members.

Finally, once more we demand that the Chilean government take responsibility to resolve the demands of Chilean First Nations, from a framework of political, social and cultural contexts instead of the repression. We ask for the freedom of all Mapuche political prisoners, the constitutional recognition of Chilean Indigenous Nations and to the ratification of Convene 169 of the International Labour Organization.

Victor M. Gavilan Mapuche Nation Support Committe, Calgary
Dionisio Barrales Mapuche Nation Support Committe, Edmonton
Cecilia Aguilera Mapuche Nation Support Committee, Winnipeg
Carlos Pilquil, Mapuche Nation Support Committee, Montreal
Armando Navarrete Mapuche Nation Support Committee, Montreal

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