SANTIAGO – Mapuche Indian militants demanding the return of ancestral lands burned an unoccupied home in the southern region of Araucania, Chilean authorities said Wednesday.
The blaze was set in the wee hours of Wednesday on the San Miguel farm, owned by Patricio Paslack, vice president of one of the area’s major agri-business federations.
Left at the scene was a placard bearing pro-Mapuche slogans and a threat: “We know who they are, where they live, and what they do. If they sleep, we will attack them. Freedom (for) Mapuche political prisoners.”
Recent years have seen Mapuche militants torch vehicles, highway toll booths and lumber shipments as part of a struggle to reclaim lands lost during a late-19th-century “pacification” campaign against the indigenous people of the Araucania and Bio Bio regions.
The conflict has claimed the lives of Mapuche activists, police and farmers, while dozens of indigenous people have been sent to prison, mainly for crimes against property.