The Arauco-Malleco Coordination, CAM, of Chile’s Indigenous Mapuche people claimed responsibility on Wednesday for an arson attack that left 19 trucks burned last Sunday.
The attack, directed at the wealthy Trans-Cavalieri transport company in Temuco, resulted in losses of about US$3 Million for the business. The CAM also set ablaze nine flatbeds and a warehouse on the route that links Temuco with other cities.
The Indigenous militants claim the attack was made in retaliation to the “capitalist invaders” who don’t respect the territory and the autonomy of the Mapuche.
“With this larger action, we pointed out to our oppressed people that there is the will and capacity of the Mapuche to deal decisively with the expressions of the capitalist system and the oppressive colonialist state,” the CAM wrote in a statement, Kaos en la Red reports.
“In response to the voices of the fascist businessmen, which ask the government for greater militarization and repression against the Mapuche people, we respond with an attitude of combative dignity, raising our levels of organization, struggle, resistance and sabotage.”
Temuco, an important historical and cultural hub for the Mapuche, was home to one of Latin America’s most successful Indigenous resistance movements against Spanish conquest. Indigenous militants there were one of few in the region to defeat the Spanish and maintain power.
Temuco was eventually invaded and occupied by the Chilean government in 1883. Since then, the Mapuche of the region have fought tirelessly against the government to preserve their territory and autonomy.
Today, the city is home to dozens of foreign multinational corporations that have pushed out Indigenous people from their lands.
“We call on all our people of the Mapuche Nation, the communities in resistance, not to be intimidated and to give continuity to the various processes of territorial and political struggle,” the CAM added in its statement.
“We reaffirm the strongest commitment to fight to the last consequences in defense of our people and their political-territorial rights, as opposed to any process of capitalist investment that attacks and devastates our ancestral and historical territory.”
Temuco is the city of Chile with the largest indigenous population.