Benetton seizes Mapuche´s lands
Date: 24 junio, 2004
The proceedings against the Curiñanco-Nahuelquir family showed the obvious: there were never any real motives to initiate a penal judgement for territorial “usurpation.” The indictment of the Attorney general, the accusing party, paradoxically showed that none of the factors which make up the dictment corresponded with the facts under judgement: deception, abuse of confidence, secrecy, threats and violence.
This trial showed once again the application of the “Colabelli Doctrine” in the Chubut province: conflicts that should have been settled in the civilian realm settled under penal jurisdiction to ensure the “return” of lands to the accusing “owners” and in all cases the local landowners and multinationals. This allowed the ordering of preventive violent evictions before the ownership of the land was settled.
With the penal question resolved, the most important conflict ends up close-up now: the legitimacy of the property tiles which were presented by the Company of Southern Argentine Lands.
The defense asked that this discussion develop in a new criminal trial, putting into question the legitimacy of the property titles which the Company shows in egards to over 900,000 hectares. And so a debate is opened regarding the true history of the “Conquest” and subsequent distribution of the patagonian lands. However, the Company insisted on closing the claims that the titles (which date to 1896) and the process developed would be enough.
During the entire please, the Benetton representative appealed directly to the present audience, mixing a victim attitude and a pedagogical tone to explain the notion of private property which was affected.
In front of him were over 200 mapuche and non-mapuche, to whom Rosa’s and Atilio’s words resonated: “We cannot usurp our own land, we are part of this land and we want to keep on living on it. Benetton cannot accuse us of being usurpers, they are the usurpers now. The truth will prevail above all.”