Chilean lawmakers to parley with Mapuche leaders in January

SANTIAGO – Chile’s Speaker of the House of Deputies Maya Fernández-Allende has agreed to hold a special session during the second week of January with Mapuche leaders to discuss as violence in La Araucanía and the murder of Camilo Catrillanca.

Fernández-Allende thus replied to a letter from the “Petitioners of the Mapuche People’s Organizations.” It remains to be seen whether this response will act as a deterrent and stop the demonstrations Mapuche organizations had announced for Dec. 27 and 28.

The Chief Deputy, the youngest daughter of former President Salvador Allende, will welcome Mapuche leaders whom she sorted out according to their ranks within their people’s hierarchy: “ñizol lonkos, lonkos, werkenes and Mapuche leaders can speak without restrictions before the representatives of the legislative,” she said.

To hear the Mapuche case, a joint session of the Permanent Commissions of Human Rights and Originated Peoples, of Constitution, and of Social Development will be held.

Fernández-Allende wrote: “Dear werkenes, emissaries of the Mapuche communities gathered in the Temukuykuy trawun on December 15, 2018. First of all, I would like to highlight your willingness to initiate a political dialogue with the legislative branch. We understand the difficult situation that exists in the Region of Araucanía and the injustice that the family close to the weichafe Camilo Catrillanca has lived . This context makes your corporation more noble, and therefore forces us to make all possible efforts that allow you as a People and we, as representatives of the sovereign will, to be able to parley.”

She added that “Having received and reviewed your request of December 19 this year, I am writing to you to communicate that your request will be accepted, in order to develop a session in which your authorities can express ‘all the issues that affect the Mapuche People’ within the framework of the institutional relationship with the State, through an active and direct participation of the Mapuche Organizations.”

Fernández-Allended further said that “As was pointed out in the meeting held with your werkenes, the House of Deputies has a strict regulation that prevents a Special Session in which your ñizol lonkos, lonkos, werkenes and Mapuche leaders can speak without restrictions to the representatives of the legislative power of the Lower House.”

But, “Based on this limitation, we have agreed with the heads of the Commissions on Human Rights and Originary Peoples, Constitution, and Social Development, to hold a joint session, which of course will be attended by the Presiding Board, as well as to extend an invitation to all the heads of the bench in a relevant space of the National Congress, during the second week of January. We hope that these three Permanent Committees of the Chamber of Deputies will join others to convene this session and thus generate an unprecedented event for the country.”

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Maya Alejandra Fernández-Allende was born in Santiago, Chile in 1971 to Cuban diplomat Luis Fernández Oña and surgeon Beatriz Allende Bussi.

After the September 1973 coup d’état that resulted in her grandfather’s overthrowing and eventual death, her family fled to Cuba, where she grew up. She returned to Chile in 1990 and in 1992 she began studying biology. After graduating, she went on to study and become a veterinarian.

As a politician, she represents the Socialist Party of Chile. Since March 11, 2014, she became a Deputy from District 21, which groups the communes of Providencia and Ñuñoa.–MercoPress