HomeNewsBriefChile Links Radical Indigenous Group to FARC
BRIEF

Chile Links Radical Indigenous Group to FARC

CHILE / 8 JAN 2013 BY MIRIAM WELLS EN

Groups behind a string of arson attacks in southern Chile have had contact with Colombian Marxist rebel group the FARC, according to a Chilean government minister. 

Referring to a radical faction of Chile's indigenous Mapuche people, who have long demanded the return of ancestral territory they say was unlawfully taken, Government Minister Cristian Larroulet told news agency EFE, "We are in the presence of an organized terrorist group, with terrorist methods, with international links that provide them with training, with skills and with contact with the [Revolutionary Armed Forced of Colombia] FARC."

On January 4, an elderly couple was burned alive while trying to protect their landholdings in Araucania region. Other attacks in the region in recent days have burned logging equipment and a barn.

In an open letter to President Piñera on January 5, Mapuche leader Juana Calfunao denied responsibility, offering condolences to the relatives of those killed and criticizing the inhumane treatment of her people by the Chilean government -- an accusation also made by the US non-governmental organization (NGO) Human Rights Watch (HRW).

President Sebastian Piñera flew to the area and announced that Pinochet-era anti-terrorism laws -- which allow indefinite detention and trial in military courts -- would be invoked to prosecute the perpetrators, and the number of police in the region would be doubled.

InSight Crime Analysis

This is not the first time the FARC has been accused of working with the Mapuche Indians. In 2010, Colombia's Prosecutor General's Office handed its Chilean counterpart a 200-page dossier of evidence allegedly demonstrating that members of the Arauco-Malleco Coordination Group (CAM), a group of radical Mapuche activists, had trained at a FARC camp in Ecuador.

A Chilean prosecutor claimed that files found on the computer of the slain FARC leader "Raul Reyes" (killed in 2008), linked CAM members to the Colombian guerrilla group.

While this is not the first report of links between the FARC and CAM, it remains to be seen if there is any substantial working relationship between the two.

Strategically, it is unclear how the FARC would benefit from ties with the Chilean group. The Chilean government, on the other hand, could be seeking to justify the enactment of harsh anti-terrorism laws by invoking links between the CAM and the Colombian guerrillas. HRW has accused successive Chilean governments of abusing this legislation.

The FARC has also been accused of aiding rebels fighting the nearby state of Paraguay. Other documents found on Reyes' computer showed the FARC had sent advisers to Paraguay and had trained members of the Paraguayan People's Army (EPP), according to claims made by a Paraguayan prosecutor in 2010. The Colombian government had made similar claims some years earlier.

share icon icon icon

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

What are your thoughts? Click here to send InSight Crime your comments.

We encourage readers to copy and distribute our work for non-commercial purposes, with attribution to InSight Crime in the byline and links to the original at both the top and bottom of the article. Check the Creative Commons website for more details of how to share our work, and please send us an email if you use an article.

Was this content helpful?

We want to sustain Latin America’s largest organized crime database, but in order to do so, we need resources.

DONATE

Related Content

COLOMBIA / 19 JAN 2021

A new alliance between two of Colombia's main criminal groups is seeking to contest the ELN's control of lucrative criminal…

HOMICIDES / 16 FEB 2022

Brazen killings by hired gunmen have not only shaken Paraguay recently but shined a light on the growing use of…

ARGENTINA / 24 SEP 2021

An influx of contraband chicken from Argentina into Paraguay has overwhelmed the local market and is threatening to put local…

About InSight Crime

LA ORGANIZACIÓN

Extensive Coverage of our Chronicles of a Cartel Bodyguard

23 SEP 2022

Our recent investigation, A Cartel Bodyguard in Mexico’s 'Hot Land', has received extensive media coverage.

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime, American University Host Illegal Fishing Panel

19 SEP 2022

InSight Crime and the Center for Latin American & Latino Studies (CLALS) at American University discussed the findings of a joint investigation on IUU fishing at a September 9 conference.

THE ORGANIZATION

Impact on the Media Landscape

9 SEP 2022

InSight Crime’s first investigation on the Dominican Republic made an immediate impact on the Dominican media landscape, with major news outlets republishing and reprinting our findings, including in …

THE ORGANIZATION

InSight Crime Sharpens Its Skills

2 SEP 2022

Last week, the InSight Crime team gathered for our annual retreat in Colombia, where we discussed our vision and strategy for the next 12 months.  During the week, we also learned how to…

THE ORGANIZATION

Colombia’s Fragile Path to Peace Begins to Take Shape

26 AUG 2022

InSight Crime is charting the progress of President Gustavo Petro’s agenda as he looks to revolutionize Colombia’s security policy, opening dialogue with guerrillas, reforming the military and police, and…