The Mapuche Lavkenche Resistance (RML), an indigenous separatist guerrilla in Chile, took responsibility for a violent assault that resulted in the burning down of 31 estates in southern Bío Bío on Tuesday night, declaring that the election of a communist-supported radical as president would not stop their war on the Chilean state.
Southern Chile has been ravaged for months by Mapuche indigenous attacks reportedly meant to eradicate the presence of the Chilean state and establish independent indigenous communities there. The Chilean Congress extended a state of emergency decree for southern Chilean regions on Tuesday that allows enhanced cooperation between police and the military to restore peace.
The indigenous attacks in more remote southern regions intensified after two years of radical leftist violence in Santiago and other major cities, initially alleged to be a response to center-right, pro-China President Sebastián Piñera considering a public transit price hike but rapidly devolving into the burning down of police stations and churches. Leftist violence in the cities resulted in Chile voting to throw away its constitution and electing far-left radical Gabriel Boric, who once described himself as “to the left of the PC [Communist Party],” president.
Boric defeated conservative candidate José Antonio Kast in a campaign marked by recurring leftist attacks on peaceful conservative campaign events, including a violent assault on a family rally in Santiago the week before Chileans took to the polls. Leftist mobs also assaulted one of Kast’s staffers while pregnant, attempting to shove her to the ground.
The RML wrote in a public statement taking responsibility for the violence on Tuesday that it had no intention of ceasing its terrorist attacks now that a radical leftist was poised to take power. The statement, published in full by Chilean news outlet Biobio, appeared to link the attack on Tuesday to the conviction of indigenous attackers for the mass murder of several campers in 2019 in that region, calling their upcoming sentencing “the punishment of a racist and oppressive state.”
“Before the speeches of peace that this false democracy is trying to impose, we will remain clear in that we will not give up our tralkas [weapons],” the statement asserted. “So long as the deforesters and aggregate extraction companies continue to devastate our territory, the tourist corporations keep getting rich off of our resources, and the jails remain full of Mapuche, the weichan [struggle] will not stop. Neither with Piñera nor with Boric.”
The Mapuche are the largest indigenous community in Chile.
The attack on Tuesday night occurred in Lake Lanalhue, Arauco province, Biobío. Initial reports stated that hooded assailants had burned down 27 homes; the number rose to 31 in local media by Wednesday. Some were cabanas meant for renting out to tourists, but many estates were also homes.
The attackers also threatened to kill anyone present and opened fired on civilians present.
“They shot at my mother when she was fleeing,” Jorge Duhart, an eyewitness, told Chile’s 24 Horas. “She had to hide in the forests surrounding the home. I managed to tell them in time.”
“Our homes are totally gone. We are poor, hardworking people. We live off of agriculture and ranching,” another man, whose identity is obscured, said.
The Chilean network T13 reported that police failed to get there in time to protect the homes in part because the attackers cut down trees and used them to block roads into the community. The attackers also stole and vandalized local vehicles and opened fire, injuring at least one person, a cabana caretaker.
Regional Governor Rodrigo Díaz issued a statement following the attack asking President-Elect Boric to rapidly “work to once and for all find a solution for these problems.”
The attack occurred on the same day that the Chilean Senate approved the extension of a state of emergency provision through January, which grants the Chilean military greater power to confront terrorist threats in the region, particularly enabling cooperation between the military and local police units.
The RML statement indicates that the violence will not subside anytime soon in response to Boric’s election, even though Mapuche separatist groups tend to align with the Chilean leftist establishment. Adding to that chorus was a statement from the spokesman for another guerrilla group, the Coordinadora Arauco Malleco (CAM), condemning Boric as a “pseudo-progressive.” The CAM is a terrorist organization attempting to sever southern Chile away from the Chilean government and turn it into an indigenous state.
“With Gabriel Boric and his pseudo-progressive government there won’t even be reformism,” CAM spokesman Héctor Llaitul said in a message this week.
“There will be oligarchical conservatism, the capitalist and colonialist system will remain, repression against the mobilized resistance Mapuche people will continue.”
Llaitul promised his group would “remain on the path of revolutionary autonomy” and “the displacement of the bourgeois power [and] the destruction of the colonialist, capitalist state in Wallmapu [southern Chile].”