A conflict between Mapuche community members from Hualapulli and the owner of a property in the Liumalla sector, a place that is located on the road that connects Villarrica with Lican Ray, ended with the death of Eloy Alarcón Manquepan, a 33-year-old Mapuche man, who received shot in the chest around 10 this morning.
For weeks there has been a climate of tension in the area. On May 5, Mario Briceño Medina, 51, who is in custody for the death of Alarcón, filed a complaint with the Carabineros for threats against the Mapuche community member who is deceased today, after receiving a possible notice of “claim of land” by Alarcón and other community members.
The issue in question is that precisely on that property there is a “menoko” (Mapuche sacred site that contains a large number of medicinal herbs), which helps Alarcón’s own medical care and the community in general.
According to Briceño Medina’s version “he was in his house when three neighbors arrived, one of them with an ax and the others with machetes, who began to threaten him. At that moment, according to his version, the person who had the ax tried to attack him, so he shot with a revolver that he owned, wounding him in the chest”.
In exclusive conversation with The counterMarta Yáñez, a Mapuche lawyer specializing in the defense of indigenous peoples and close to the community of the deceased, denied this background, providing information that differed from the facts.
-How did the situation that led to Alarcón’s death occur?
-Eloy was in the company of one of his brothers when they gained access to one of these territories where precisely one of the objectives was to extract Mapuche medicine, given that he is a person who is treated as a priority and preferentially with Mapuche medicine with the machi. from his community, Catalina Huequeman and in that context he accesses this property. In fact, every time the machi needed Mapuche medicine, it was Eloy who went to the different wetlands or menoko to extract the medicine that the machi needed.
– Is there a previous background behind what happened?
-Approximately 10 days ago, the murdered community member contacted me very concerned, since in the neighboring sectors where the communities generally extract medicinal plants, there were neighbors who were cutting menoko, wetlands, where the machi extracts remedies to supply and prepare the medicine of the people of the community, so he communicated very distressed, very sad, very discouraged, very worried about the situation and in fact in the next few days, both Eloy and the machi Catalina were about to file a protection appeal for this situation and given that the irregular subdivisions and the destruction of the natural spaces of the communities persisted, I understand that as a territory they were initiating or talking about possible processes of territorial recovery. I have no prior history of this situation. I understand that in this context the unfortunate death of Don Eloy takes place. I do not have more background.
-In what state is the community after Eloy’s death?
-The machis and medicinal authorities of the communities are very distressed and concerned about this situation, since the weapons that killed the Mapuche community member are in the possession of private individuals. Even being outside the police station, they told me recently that they had been threatened with weapons by relatives of the person who killed Don Eloy. Given this, they are very worried and anguished because they do not have weapons, they are not used to this treatment. Here there is clearly a climate of violence, weapons in the hands of individuals, it is worrying. The machi informed me that she is very afraid for her life, for her physical and mental integrity, by the relatives of the person who is being charged with the crime.
– Is there information that if indeed a prior notice was made to Briceño Medina of “claiming those lands”?
-I don’t know if this was the case, but it wouldn’t surprise me because in general Mapuche people, before exercising or sending a right they claim, always communicate in a public or transference way. So if they told a neighbor that they were going to start a recovery process, it would not be surprising if they had done it verbally. I do not know any further information regarding this, but generally the recovery processes have been characterized by starting in this way, via verbal communication to those who present ownership of the properties that are in territorial dispute.
-Was there any particular concern of Eloy regarding this problem prior to his death?
-That’s right, in fact, the time I was in communication with Mr. Eloy, he told me that his mother’s ex-partner, who is not of Mapuche origin, obtained indigenous status from CONADI, in order to buy Mapuche territories to later parcel them out. and thus favor the territorial dispossession of the communities. This was a situation that particularly worried the communities of the sector. I understand that in the next few days he was going to initiate pertinent administrative and legal actions, but unfortunately today we found out about this cowardly murder