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Asia-Pacific Economic Co-operation meets on 4 - 5 June 2004 in Pucon and Villarrica
Mapuches oppose this neo-colonialist summit in their territory!


Mapuche Organizations and Regional Entities reject APEC summit in their ancestral territory

In Opposition to Free Market Globalization and Neo Colonialism, We Say: No to APEC

(Mapuche Nation for the Self Determination of Indigenous Peoples and Nations)

Contrary to the claims made by governments, businesses and transnational corporations about economic globalization, we do NOT understand globalization as a world of opportunity. We understand it as a world of exclusion, marginalization, oppression, ex-appropriation; a world where indigenous people are displaced and their land and natural resources over-exploited; a world in which big corporations use their instruments the World Bank, the IMF, the WTO, the FTAA, Free Trade Agreements and APEC to exercise imperialist power - a power which in many cases transcends that of government and the state to control markets and trade.

The current globalization of free trade promotes a neo-colonialism, which, in contrast to the colonialism of yesterday, affects not only indigenous people and nations but vast sectors of the world's population. In other words, in this new system the big corporations are devouring their own colonies.

The globalization of a free market economy, the standardization and homogenization of production and the fixing of world prices in economies which are at unequal stages of economic and technological development is leading very many social groups - among them indigenous peoples - to fall victim to the new economic model. For example: control over food production is lost, increasing privatization benefits transnational companies; mono-agricultural policies are implemented which have terrible consequences for environmental degradation; a market which over-exploits natural resources is consolidated; repressive, militarily conceived strategies are implemented which seek to benefit the multinationals by controlling and destroying social and indigenous movements; and finally, policies of assimilation are followed which attack the rights and cultures of indigenous people and nations and lead to corporate power, corporate transnational looting, and social and environmental disaster.

We question whether the colonialist states which are part of the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation (APEC) and of other multi-lateral organizations have the authority to subscribe to international trade agreements on commerce and investment, given that they have continually denied the rights, land titles and autonomy of indigenous people and nations. Such is the case in Chile, which hosts APEC in 2004. In Chile the rights of indigenous peoples are comprehensively violated. A racist and discriminatory refusal to recognise their identity and their collective rights is driven by state policies and motivated by the desire for absolute control on the part of powerful, groups such as: domestic companies and transnational corporations.

In their just struggle for the recuperation of their land and their dignity, and the right to exercise political, civil and social rights, the Mapuche people are the victims of constant, systematic and planned violations of their human rights. Police aggression is designed to jail and persecute Mapuche leaders. At the same time, in both Chile and Argentina, the Mapuche people are losing both their identity and their natural resources as a result of the actions of the transnational corporations (mining, oil, forestry and hydroelectric power companies) and big landowners who are in close alliance with and receive the strong support of the Chilean and Argentine States. In the name of the reigning economic model, these same States oppress all those who seek to defend their rights.
Faced with these circumstances, we are aware that the current resistance to a globalized free market model propelled by transnationals must not lose sight of those injustices which are taking place within "nation states" themselves. An anti - globalization movement which denounces only the global protagonists runs the risk of tacitly legitimating those colonialist and exploitative states whose historic base has always been the displacement of indigenous people and nations.


APEC is the means by which its 21 member countries intend to implement standards which are internationally accepted as likely to improve security and facilitate the commercial activities of neo-liberalism. In fact, this is exactly what was agreed during the Second Conference on Secure Trade in the APEC region, which took place in Chile in the beginning of March.

Mapuche organizations and regional groups reject all those practices or forms of globalization which systematically exclude, ignore or marginalize indigenous people and nations and any social sector. APEC is another instrument which will do this.

The current oppression of indigenous people and nations across Latin America is closely linked to the aspects of globalization reflected in APEC, among them the modernization of agriculture, forestry, fishing and mining; export-oriented economic policies; agricultural policies that promote the extensive use of chemical and bio-chemical products; energy policies focussed on the use of oil and big hydroelectric dams. These are the clearest examples of how globalization impacts on Mapuche people in both Chile and Argentina.

One of the most important meetings during Chile's year long hosting of APEC will take place during the 4th and 5th of June at the very heart of the Mapuche nation's historic territory, in the towns of Pucon and Villarrica and at the centre of the Araucania Region (850 kilometers south of Santiago, on the shores of Lake Villarrica). The meeting will be attended by Ministers of Trade and commercial representatives from the following 21 countries: Australia, Brunei, Canada, Chile, the Peoples Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, South Korea, Malaysia, Mexico, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, Peru, the Philippines, Russia, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand, the United States, and Vietnam. They will meet to establish economic and trade policies, and plan treaties and accords behind the backs of their people.

For this reason, the voice of the people who actually live on this land must be heard. In order to achieve self-determination we must call a halt to the false presentation of our history and culture as mere 'folklore', we must show the representatives of APEC governments and the groups of businessmen which they serve that we do exist, that we are here, and that it is possible to build a just and equal world with an economic system that allows the participation and the decisions of its peoples.

We are calling on Mapuche organizations and regional entities, indigenous people and nations, and all people and social organizations (local, national and international) that aspire to shape a just society founded on a respect for life and for cultural diversity to attend this meeting during the 4th and 5th of June and to show their opposition to the new colonialism, whose instrument (APEC) is attempting to place itself like a seed into the heart of our land.

We are calling on you to join us, to intervene at this meeting and to express your views.

Mapuche Forum
Coordination of Mapuche Organizations and Territorial Entities

Translated by Heidi Walter