Pablo Piovano, Argentina
Millionaires from Argentina, Chile and around the world are investing in agricultural lands, tourism, and the extraction of fossil fuels. Several nuclear and hydroelectric power plants are currently being planned. Local environmentalists, neighborhood organizations, and NGOs are protesting against these projects. Further heating up the rush for resources is the discovery in 2011, in Neuquén province, of some of the world’s largest oil and gas reserves.
Most affected by this frantic activity are the Mapuche, an ethnic group that settled in Patagonia long before the arrival of Europeans. They are fighting against the destruction of their livelihoods and for the right to live their culture. The Argentinian government refers to the Mapuche as terrorists and has been trying to suggest they have connections to armed groups.
In the past, several Mapuche who fought for their land have been killed by unknown attackers. Last November, during an occupation of land claimed by the Mapuche, police shot and killed 22-year old Rafael Nahuel. To this day, nobody has been held accountable for his death.
We need the territory. And the land is ours, and nobody can say that it isn’t. We cannot allow those who arrived just yesterday with one hand in front and one behind, to thrive. The only thing they brought with them were penal and civil codes to judge and criminalize my people…….