Lonko Juana Calfunao goes on a hunger strike

10 January 2006

Communication from Juana Calfunao Paillalef

1- As you know, on the 5 th January 2006 I was imprisoned by Judge Maria Elena Llanos Alberto Chiffelle as I am considered 'a danger to society' as the presumed author of 'public disorder' and 'a threat to carabineros (Chilean police) in service'.
In the audience that took place on the date mentioned the Public Prosectuor dared to call my Indigenous community a 'gang' and I their leader. That is the respect that the Chilean State shows its inhabitants of Mapuche origin who claim and fight for their legitimate rights.

2 -This process originates in the appeal that the Community Juan Paillalef presented to the Ministry for Public Works due to the inexistence of legal expropriation documentation of almost 10,000 square metres of land belonging to the community which have been usurped for the construction of a road.

In October 2004, after we cut and demonstrated on the road, we came to an agreement with the Seremi from Public Works that if the land had not been legally and legitimately expropriated then said organisation would end the expropriation which affected us.
By order no.0395 of 1 June 2005 the Seremi Jazmin Balboa tells me that by Decree no.947 of the 10 th April 1947, the Director General from Public Works authorised the expropriation of lot no 6 belonging to Ambrosio Calfunao, which was modified on 13 January 1949, and paid 600pesos which was consigned to the Treasury in Santiago on the 13 th January 1949. This decree authorises the expropriation of 300 square metres.
I hereby make present that the 600pesos were never paid to my father, whose ignorance and good faith they abused, as he was unable to read and write in Spanish as he only spoke mapudungun (Mapuche language). He was also not the owner of the land because these belong to the Paillalef family, according to the title of 1913. He never married my mother, who was the inheritor, so he did not represent an inheritor by marriage.
It is to say that the land was expropriated and supposedly paid for in the name of someone who was not the proprietor. The Chilean State even with all the means within its reach was incapable of making this plundering legal. There is a judicial saying that says 'he who pays in error pays twice' but the injustice is even more serious because even if it were legal or formally correct the road built through my community is 670 metres long by 25 metres wide. It has a surface of 10,200 square metres. Even if we had accepted that 300 square metres had been legally expropriated, there are 9,900 square metres which have been plundered and not expropriated or paid for.

This is the point that makes my fight for the road that crosses our community legitimate.

Even though it is clear that the Seremi from Public Works should order the legal expropriation and payment of the 9,900 square metres which belongs to us; she now runs from her obligations. She lies saying that the road was legally expropriated and paid for and she does not honour her obligations and intends to solve our legitimate claim via repression by the police.

3 - But you know that this imprisonment is nothing more than the cherry on the cake because for years I have been the victim of abuse and crimes caused by agents of the State and other individuals. Years ago I lost the child I carried in my womb due to a beating from carabineros.

Later, due to defending my son who was being beaten by carabineros during a demonstration, one of my teeth was broken by the Chief of Special Forces in Temuco . The regional authority recognised his actions implicitly.

My house in the countryside has been burnt down three times and despite the existence of two proceedings in the hands of the Public Ministry, the perpetrators have not been found.

In between these attacks I have been beaten, threatened and frightened by paramilitary groups who go past my house showing their fire arms. Several times they have fired at my house, specially at night.

They have killed my livestock

They have threatened to kill me several times, directly and indirectly, also my mother and my children, they have also knifed one of them.

It is clear that my work as defender of my community's human rights makes several powerful neighbours uncomfortable. They are the current 'proprietors' or possessors of the land which they have usurped from neighbouring communities.

Each time that I have been detained by carabineros they have used excessive force, causing evident lesions which have sometimes been denied by the doctor and by the public prosecutor even though they were verified by the judge.

4 - As a result of all these abuses that I have described and because the Chilean State has shown itself to be a racist and repressive State which uses its agents, carabineros, public prosecutors and judges to silence my legitimate struggle and also due to them beating me and jailing me and not listening to my demands I have decided to give up my Chilean nationality.  

I can not be part of a state that has an international face which shows it to be democratic, progressive, respectful and a leader in human rights. While on the inside it responds with repression and jail for the legitimate demands of the Mapuches.

This is why I Juana Rosa Calfunao Paillalef, Lonko of the Juan Paillalef . Today on the 10 th January 2006 I start a dry hunger strike until the relevant authorities investigate all the injustices committed against our community.

Signed by

Juana Rosa Calfunao Paillalef
Lonko of the Juan Paillalef Community
Comuna of Cunco IX Region of Temuco.


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