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After 61 days of Hunger strike:

Chief Juana Calfunao and her sister fight for life in a Chilean prison

6th October 2007

On the 2nd October Chief Calfunao suffers heart attack according to latest reports

In a letter dated 5 th Oct addressed to Mapuche International Link, one of Chief Calfunao's close relatives stated ''I am writing to you with urgency and desperation, I see Juana dying and giving her life as a last resort to denounce and to vindicate in defence of the rights of the Mapuche people''. It also stated that the health of Chief Calfunao and her sister is now in an extremely serious state, they're hands and bodies are cold to the touch, they have little strength to speak, it is difficult for them to breathe, they are finding speech very difficult, and they are experiencing an abnormally rapid heart beat.

The state of health witnessed above is a reflection of the findings of an official medical report of 29 th October which confirmed Juana's severe weight loss (approx 13% of their body weight) they are at risk of severe malnutrition, they are conscious yet lethargic, and are now at high risk of cardio respiratory problems and renal failure, decreased immune system function with gastro intestinal complications, in short their lives' are now in serious jeopardy. The diagnosis referred to in this report have now sadly been realised, in a similar report produced on the 2 nd of October which concluded that Chief Calfunao had indeed now suffered a heart attack.

The current Chief of the Juan Paillalef community Chief Juana Calfunao and her sister Luisa have been on hunger strike since 7th August, in a Chilean prison in Temuco in a desperate attempt to draw attention to her community and families ongoing struggle for justice. The Chilean authorities have maintained silent with regard to Chief Calfunao and this issue whilst the Chilean media have offered no coverage of her situation.

Chief Calfunao from Cunco, 9th region, Wallmapu, Chile continues to suffer brutal and systematic repression at the hands of the Chilean authorities and local land owners (latifundistas) of European descent, in their centuries old struggle for ancestral land rights and self-determination.

In a bid to break the determination of the leader of the Juan Paillalef community and her predecessors, successive Chilean authorities have systematically targeted the entire Calfunao family by means of false arrest and imprisonment (with recourse to anti-terrorist law being systematically applied to Mapuche people as a means of social and political repression), interrogation, police brutality, torture and intermittent police raids where violent assaults and intimidation are commonplace.

A statement issued on the 5th of October by Carolina Landero Calfunao, daughter of Chief Calfunao, reads ''From the 9 th Region of Araucanía on this the 11th month of unjust incarceration of members of my community and my family I wish to state that this government has bullied both the communities and the people.. those who daily suffer physical and psychological harassment. We have had enough of sitting and talking with a government which does not deliver that which it promises.''

Currently in detention are Chief Calfunao; her husband Antonio Cadin; sister Luisa Calfunao; sons Wailkilaf Cadin Calfunao and Jorge Landero Calfunao; mother Mercedes Paillalef Moraga and daughter Carolina Maciel Landeros Calfunao the later two being held on house arrest.

Mapuche International Link have again requested the urgent intervention of international human rights organisations in support of Chief Calfunao and her family.

Please contact the following address to express your concern and solidarity:

Please write also to the diplomatic representative of Chile in your country.

Further information can be obtained by contacting:

Mapuche International Link
Reynaldo Mariqueo on +44-(0)117 9279 391 or
by visiting our Website at:

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