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Chile's Mapuche: Seven Reasons Americans should care about remote Chilean tribes DRAFT

(This is a work in progress, expect to see changes and corrections)

Can the government give your land to someone else? 

Chile's Mapuche: Seven Reasons Americans should care about remote tribes, an opinion piece by Frank Ellsworth Lockwood

  1. The bloodshed that plagues Chile's Mapuche mirrors the unfinished saga of the American Indians.
  2. Ancestral lands: The attempts of Chilean natives to recover ancestral lands raises questions of similar issues in North America. The Indian wars and aboriginal displacement that produced America's “Indian Reservations” are still ongoing in other parts of the world and can teach us about who and what we are, or have been.
  3. Chile's policies mirror those of United States: Chile's natives are fighting and perhaps losing the Indian wars all over again, but some of the same conflicts are ongoing in USA today.
  4. USA intervention has caused or made worse conditions in Chile.
  5. Chile feeds America: Chile and other Latin nations fill our plates lunch boxes all winter long. In a real way, Coñalinco's blood-smeared face represents but one of the prices that Chilean laborers and farmers have paid for the tomatoes, peaches, grapes and other products that cannot be grown out of season in USA and Canada.
  6. Unscrupulous corporate influence won't stop at the USA border. American lands are being expropriated even as I write. Note the recent Congressional sell-offs or giveaways of native lands to corporations hungry to access America's raw materials.
  7. Insights: Recent and not so recent events in Chile provide insights into how the economic, political and corporate power structures in the United States are gnawing away at America's public lands, personal rights, and economic well-being.

#whoownsthisland #landrights, #tribalgovernment,  #tribalrights  #americanindians #chileantribes #humanrights #whoownsyourland #cangovernmentgiveyourlandtosomeoneelse


Part One

About the Author

First the disclaimer: I am by no means a scholar or historian knowledgable in Chilean history.

What makes be qualified to write this is my interest in the nation since I met some Chileans online several years back. I have heard their stories and they ring true and many of them are confirmed by records now made public by the CIA.

The other qualification is that some years back I started paying more attention to events transpiring in Chile, comments on Facebook and so-on. It seems to me that Americans pay almost zero attention to this small country, which seems odd given that we deliberately created the disaster that overtook the nation in 1973, and to my knowledge we have never apologized.

The other 9/11 (Backgrounder)

When Americans speak of 9/11 everyone knows what is meant: The morning of Tuesday, September 11, 2001 when suicide when 19 Al Qaeda terrorists crashed two hijacked airliners into the twin towers of the World Trade Center complex in New York City and killing nearly 3,000 people.

The people of Chile have a different association of the numbers 9/11.

The national significance for them refers back to September 11, 1973 when a successful coup led by the autocrat, General Augusto Pinochet, overthrew the democratically elected government of Salvador Allende in a bloody coup.

Left leaning Chileans hold bitter memories of the United States and our involvement. Clearly, the overthrow of their democracy, replacing it with what many a tyrant, was in large part the work of the USA, with CIA involvement and of $ millions of USA money. Chileans dislike us with good reason.

Chileans were “disappeared” from off the streets, to the dismay of family members. The mutilated remains of many were found, some encased in cement, having been tortured. Others were never seen again. No one was safe, especially those who had supported Allende.

Needless to say, it made quite an impression many Chileans when their dreams of democracy and self-rule turned to a reign of terror by the notorious Pinochette at the hands of Americans promoting liberty and justice.  They still remember, and they blame us. Wouldn't you?

However, you may be wondering: “What does this have to do with me?”

It's Business as usual

What goes around, comes around.

Yesterday I translated part of a Chilean report in the article, Carabineros shoot native Chilean in the face.

All the the things I have read about Chile have started to have a familiar ring to them:
  • The primacy of corporate and business interests. Chile's problems today procede not only from colonization, but from the American politics of the seventies and before, the extension of politics of entitlement for the rich and devaluation of others..
  • Territorial replacement: The policies of replacement, driving natives from their ancestral lands, and giving those lands to others while putting down protests violently, is similar to the deprivation and subjection of American natives and less privileged groups.
  • Human rights abuses: The abuse of the Mapuche is “business as usual” for those who cannot come to grips with human rights, just as is the abuse and subjugation of Blacks and Mexicans in America today.
  • Pushing back: Chile today is just “just saying no” to natives who want their land returned, but they are pushing back.The same thing is happening in America today.
  • Another USA counterpart: A group of Poiticians recently attempted to force the release of Indian lands to an oil company.  The tribe contested the company's right to locate a major oil line across what they said was Indian land with treaty rights. See the link: 
     In this case the government claims the right of "eminent domain" to take possession of the land.

As if the above were not enough, I just read the headline in the Huffington Post as follows: “Defense Bill Passes, Giving Sacred Native American Sites To Mining Company.”

This must have happened almost a year ago and somehow I missed it! The article was so outrageous that I was wondering if the report is a hoax, but the link is still there after all this time:

( made some minor but significant corrections to the article but said it was mostly true. (

On May 29, 2015 an op-ed piece in the New York Times by Lydia Millet said the provision was added to a fine-print rider at the last minute to a must-pass military spending bill, the National Defense Authorization Act. So much for national defense.

So in the USA we have Congressmen swapping public lands of important cultural significance to, among others, an Iranian mining company and an oil company.

In Chile, on the other hand, we have a different situation -- though similar in many ways -- where the government first ran off the Mapuche's ancestor and sold their land. Eventually and the land ended up controlled by a guy with the last name of Brian Blackburn, whose company develops seed varieties for global agriculture giants such as Bayer CropScience and Cargill on his family’s 3,400-acre farm.

Blackburn says the government has moved to buy more land for the Mapuche, creating a cottage industry of fake claims, property scams and other abuses, but the source of the problem, based on greed and the attitude of entitlement, goes way back to Blackburn's great-great-grandfather, an immigrant from Britain, who bought the land from the Chilean government after the Mapuche were driven off and resettled nearby. Over the years, the Blackburn family became a pillar of the local community ... and so on and so-forth.

What is the similarity then? In both nations, the relatively rich and powerful, and perhaps more importantly, the preferred races, are favored by government. Power holders, typically businessmen, demand that the government deed appropriated land to others, often for low prices (In he case of USA, the land was given for free with the stipulation that the new owners must develop the land.

In the case of Chile, the government sells land to those who eventually develop it into relatively large and profitable farms.)

The Dispossessed  

Meanwhile, the rightful owners are driven off the land, especially if the aboriginal culture has norms that do note utilize land titles, deeds, land surveys and so-on. It happened here in USA and it is ongoing in Chile.

Chile, I think, is a mirror of the USA. In a very real sense, we ARE the people of Chile.
 USA businesses wanted, and took, Chile's copper until Allende and his predecessor nationalized the mines.

As an aside: Chile purchased the mines from the US companies but the owners were dissatisfied.

Just like some are trying to do in America, Allende nationalized the health care system, continued funding the education system, provided a program of free milk for children, and so-on.


Much in the same way that Chile's government acquired native lands, then sold them to others, so in America. It is called "expropriation."A recent attempt to expropriate land in the USA occurred recently when a “sneak law” passed as a rider to the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2015. The law swapped more than 2400 acres of land in Arizona's Tonto National Forest to Resolution Copper in exchange for other federal properties

Now that land is being expatriated to a foreign nation over the objections of the tribe, who do not own the land but are interested in protecting it.

It is my understanding that the land had belonged to the public under a multiple-use mandate of the Forest Service, with special protections since 1955, when President Dwight D. Eisenhower decreed the area closed to mining. 

Who sneaked this law into the National Defense Authorization? I believe it was Arizona Republican Senators John McCain and Jeff Flake and Arizona Republican Rep. Paul Gosar. 

Part Two

Back to Chile

Sorry for the above digression but it was to the point: Perhaps with the possible exception of murder and "disappearances", most of the dirty tricks done in Chile are being attempted again today, right here in America. ...

Part Two

Back to Chile and the Mapuche

Sorry for the digression but it was to the point: Most of the corporate dirty tricks done in Chile are being attempted again today, right here in America, as should become evident if I do my job here.

According to CIA documents

  • The CIA: From 1962 to 1964 spent $3 million in propanda to scare people away from voting for Allende and another $2.6 million to finance Allende's opponent Eduardo Frei.
  • The USA refused to provide any assistence during the coup.
  • The CIA did not investigate the coup, claiming it was “strictly an internal Chilean matter.”
  • The US Administration deemed that Allende winning the election would be “ a disaster.”
  • In 1970 President Nixon authorized $10 million to stop Allende.
  • The CIA tried to convince Chilean military officers to carry out a coup.
  • The Defence Inteligence Agency allegedly secured the misles used to bombard Chile's government offices.

Which is to say, we may still be seeing the ripple effects of the USA's interferrence, or to use a softer word, the USA's intervention in Chile. It also seems obvious that anyone supporting social programs in the USA is up against powerful and strong-willed antagonists to say the least.

Bigger money, better coups  

The list of USA corporations that had ties to the CIA, and that may have benefited from Allende's demise, includes companies listed on the NYSE, NASDAQ, or AMEX exchanges: Anoconda, American Fruit, United Sugar for example.

These companies also, reportedly, had close connections to the CIA The CIA-engineered regime changes impacted stock prices for big companies. Which is to say, there was (and is) big money to be made by American companies if they can influence the CIA to participate in coups and regime change.

But did the companies actually influence the US government and hence the CIA to support the coups in Chile and other places?

Answer: It is tempting to think so.

The benefit increase attributable to coup-authorization in Chile was 73 percent. (What I think this means is that, of the large increase in benefits that companies got following the authorization of the coup, 73 percent of that increase was attributable to the authorization of the coup.)

Or said another way, “There was big money in replacing (democratically elected) Socialist governments with military dictators.”

There is much I cannot answer in this article. For example, to what extent was the dual standard for the Mapuche exacerbated by the coup?

Parallels in United States of America

In view of the above Mapuche story, I see striking parallels between what is happening in Chile today, and what is happening in USA. For examples
  • The current abuse of civil rights and human rights
  • Subjugated groups discriminated against
  • Unequal police protection
  • Corporate assumption of the right to native lands
  • Civil unrest or protests of subjugated groups.  

I am certain there is a lot more to write about this topic but I  need a break for now. Please "Like" and "Plus+" and "Share: or mention me to someone. Thanks.
Author's note: If you see errors of fact in this article, please tell me about it in the comments. Thanks.


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