Mapuche activists occupy facilities of Norwegian hydropower company in Osorno, Chile on October 23


On October 23, activists belonging to a regional Mapuche organization occupied facilities of Statkraft, a Norwegian hydropower company in Osorno, to oppose three hydroelectric projects in the area. According to reports, activists demanded the presence of Norwegian Ambassador Beate Stiro and the immediate release of Facundo Jones Huala, a Mapuche leader currently jailed in Valdivia after being extradited from Argentina. The Chilean police evicted and detained 29 activists. On October 24, however, Statkraft announced the deferment of another Osorno hydroelectric power station project on Pilmaiquén River, in the vicinity of a Mapuche religious complex.


As previously assessed, Mapuche activism or militancy is not likely to abate. While in this case the occupation did not evolve into violence, reports indicate that more than 322 violent incidents have taken place in the regions of Los Ríos, Bio Bio and La Araucanía in 2018. On October 1, for instance, a group of arsonists claiming to represent the interests of the Mapuche community burned several trucks and other heavy machinery in an estate belonging to a forestry company in a rural area in La Araucanía. Mapuche militants consider their ancestral lands to be encroached by "foreign occupiers". On September 24, President Sebastián Piñera, in an attempt to bring conciliation with indigenous communities, launched a comprehensive development plan for La Araucanía, which, in addition to state investment of 8 billion USD and private investment of 16 billion USD, includes a constitutional amendment to promote and preserve cultural diversity in Chile, and the creation of a ministry of indigenous affairs. On September 27, Mapuche communities responded by gathering in Temuco for a demonstration against the initiative, suggesting that more radical militants will not cease their activities in the short term.



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