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The Invisible Colours of Benetton
Document - 10TH June 2004

Mapuches excluded from the ‘United Colours’. Brief history of the Mapuche’s Territorial Conflict with the Benetton Group.

Benetton has failed to respect the legal requirements regarding the operation of European companies investing in developing countries which are contained in the Codes of Conduct of the European Union (Resolution 15/11/99).

Lawyers defending the Mapuche have found legal documents which corroborate the Mapuche’s persistent protests about the arbitary and illegal occupation of their territory by landowners, anonymous societies and the Argentinian state.

The Invisible Colours of Benetton
Press Release
- 10TH June 2004

Reynaldo Mariqueo, General Secretary of Mapuche Internacional Link says:

“ Benetton change their stance as a chameleon changes its colour. On the one hand they promote the notion of a world of multicultural and ethnic harmony as reflected in their ‘United Color’ slogan, presenting themselves as benefactors of the poor. In reality however, they let no obstacle stand in their way in order to get what they want. They are happy to take away the basic means of subsistence from members of indigenous communities – the most vulnerable and discriminated against people in the world”.

From Puelmapu

Neither to give nor receive what is not yours. Your colours carry on darkening…

7 th November 2005

In recent days there has been much hype and spin in different regions about the “donation” of 7500 hectares of land by the Bennetton Group. The press has highlighted this “gesture” with much care, the same care the proprietors took to secure their own rise.

The land in question is situated about 50 kms., from Gualjaina in the locality called “Piedra Parada”. These lands the Bennetton Group aquired from a landowner of Syrian Lebanese origen called Nassif, whose portfolio grew with the expropiation and eviction of the original inhabitants.

With the purchase of the lands and it's future “donation” to regional government, Bennetton is trying to emeliorate the long standing and bitter conflict between the multinational and the Mapuche nation. The eviction and persecution of Mapuche families inside and outside their 900.000 hectare homeland by birthright has not ceased but intensified from day to day. The police crackdown has got harder, with the funding for the construction of police stations near to the Mapuche communities. To facilitate the use of estates of the homeland for the training of groups that specialize in repression like the GEO. The fences are like scars in our Mapu, closing off access to roads to our different ways and mirror-like waters.

With the supposed donation, Bennetton has tried to reduce the cultural and political conflict to a simple dispute about land, as if the interests of the Mapuche nation could be reduced to the possession of just a few hundred hectares. The objective is to deflect the discussion and is a desperate attempt to hide what the Mapuche nation dares to uncover.

It is possible that these events might not only be the results of the Bennetton Group, but also that the Provincial Government of Chubut could also be a part of the media circus. Moreover, at this moment they will be desperate to make use of the Mapuche leaders (with a deeply floored logic), to obtain advantages in the third invasion of the heroic battle for Mapuche territory.

With 900.000 hectares under their control, Bennetton says that they will provide work for 600 people. How many families could work and live with dignity if the same land is administered by this collective community? Today there is talk of a new construction undertaking: a tannery that does not contaminate. Do they think we are that ignorant? We know very well that this type of factory, for processing and preparation of leather uses a great quantity of toxic and poisonous chemicals. Perhaps Carlo and Luciano will be jumping around day and night so that they don't contaminate? This type of work cannot be carried out in the “developed world”. Don't they think that a textile factory would create more jobs? In fact the city of Esquel closed the only one in the region leaving 300 people in the street.

To all citizens that fight for a breathable world, and all brothers and sisters of the Mapuche nation in their distant regions, the fire of our fight will burn, we will not desert our path. It's power is growing all the time and the great challenge is to recognise our colours.

Just as the Argentinian people are saying “Bush out”, no to oppression, no to death; we will carry on shouting “ Bennetton out of Mapuche territory”

For country and freedom

“Marici Weu” (we will win ten times)

Translated by Martin Hewer
Mapuche International Link


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