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Cablegate: Chile Media Report - August 14

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TAGS: KMDR KPAO PGOV ECON PREL SNAR EFIN CI
SUBJECT: CHILE MEDIA REPORT - AUGUST 14

Lead Story
----------
1. The death of an indigenous Mapuche when the police evicted him
and others from a private estate in southern Chile has triggered
violent incidents in the Region of Araucania. Eight policemen have
been injured by shotgun pellets (La Tercera, conservative,
independent, 8/14).

Honduras
--------
2. Foreign Minister Mariano Fernandez gave Washington a message from
his Brazilian, Argentine, Uruguayan, and Paraguayan counterparts:
Washington must take a more active role in the crisis in Honduras
and in its support of the OAS to reinstate Manuel Zelaya. Fernandez
met with National Security Advisor James Jones and Jose Miguel
Insulza. "We spoke of how all countries in the region, from Canada
to Chile, must become more active to give that support that will
finally change the path we are on" (El Mercurio, conservative,
influential, 8/14).

3. Foreign Minister Fernandez' agenda in Washington is intended to
show support for the efforts undertaken by the OAS with regard to
Honduras. In this context, Fernandez met yesterday with White House
National Security Advisor James Jones. In Santiago, there is concern
that Micheletti's attempt to stop OAS Secretary General Insulza from
joining the delegation due to travel to Honduras soon, would find
support with the USG (La Tercera, 8/14).

4. Minister Fernandez said, "support for a prompt solution" to the
crisis in Honduras must have "greater political visibility."
Fernandez will meet today with Assistant Secretary of State for
Latin American Affairs Thomas Shannon and Deputy Assistant Secretary
of State for the Western Hemisphere Craig Kelly (La Nacion,
government-owned, 8/14).

President Zelaya in Chile
-------------------------
5. President Manuel Zelaya had lunch in La Moneda with President
Bachelet and party presidents. Right-wing Renovacion Nacional (RN)
did not attend, because it "disagreed meeting with a president who
is questioned by his own country's Supreme Court." At the lunch,
Zelaya said that "things would be different" if the Obama
administration were more involved, adding that the U.S. stance
against the Micheletti government has been "soft." Meanwhile,
Micheletti said that OAS Secretary General Insulza "is not welcome"
(El Mercurio, 8/14).

6. In La Moneda, President Zelaya received expressions of support
from both government-coalition and opposition congressmen (La
Tercera, 8/14).

7. After his lunch at La Moneda, Zelaya visited the University of
Chile to speak on democracy in Latin America, invited by the
university's Student Federation(La Nacion, 8/14).

U.S.-Related News
-----------------
8. General Electric will open a plant in the Fifth Region to
design, produce, and export software. The company will offer 1,000
job openings for local professionals and technicians. The project
includes training the locally hired personnel in India and
establishing alliances with local technological institutes and
universities to adapt their courses to suit GE's specific needs.
Applicants must speak English (Popular Las Ultimas Noticias, La
Nacion, and financial daily Diario Financiero, 8/14).

Indigenous Mapuche Conflict
---------------------------
9. President Bachelet instructed a government delegation to visit
the area of the indigenous Mapuche conflict to assess the state of
the commitments acquired by the government and resolve situations
that have been postponed. "Nothing justifies violence in the (Region
of) Araucania. It must be understood that the only road to solving
the legitimate historical demands of the Mapuche people is through
dialogue. Without that dialogue there can be no progress," said
Bachelet (El Mercurio, 8/14).

10. Bachelet underscored that Concertacion administrations (in
office since 1989) have given Mapuche communities 650,000 hectares
of land and that another 115 communities will receive land in the
next seven months. Government spokesperson Carolina Toha insisted,
"Today the government's policy is to recognize and value indigenous
cultures and resolve their historical social demands, but in a
context of co-existence and respect" (El Mercurio, 8/14).

11. Yesterday, a series of incidents occurred at different times in
the area of the Mapuche conflict: Hooded individuals carrying
firearms set up barricades and blocked Route 5 for hours. Another
group blocked the road between Canete and Tirua and at gunpoint
demanded a "toll" for the Mapuche cause and opened fire on the
police as they escaped. In Ercilla, hooded individuals set fire to
40 farming machines and burned wheat and oatmeal storehouses. About
30 hooded individuals entered a private estate in Ercilla and opened
fire on the workers, the owner, and the policemen guarding the place
per court instructions (El Mercurio, 8/14).

12. Trucker, farmer, and business unions showed their support to
the chief of police responsible for the Region of Araucania. They
said the Mapuche attacks are a form of "permanent terrorism" (El
Mercurio, 8/14.)

13. With regard to the death of Juan Collio, indigenous leaders
said the police immediately fired weapons and threw tear gas and did
not even attempt to dialogue with the Mapuches. The chief of police
of the Region of Araucania, Cristian Llevenes, said the opposite.
"This happened when individuals carrying rifles and shotguns began
shooting," adding that the policeman allegedly responsible for
Collio's death acted in self-defense and that proof of that is that
his helmet and bullet-proof vest are covered with shotgun pellets
(El Mercurio, 8/14).

14. National Prosecutor Sabas Chauan: "It is every citizen's right
to repel an attack." Undersecretary of Interior Patricio Rosende:
"We would have a dead policeman had he not been using protective
equipment." Mapuche leader Jose Naim: "They (the police) said they
were ambushed and that is not true" (El Mercurio, 8/14).

SIMONS

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