Pelli Rubén Collio, a well-known Chilean Mapuche activist and widower of Mapuche environmental activist Macarena Valdés, died yesterday in a traffic accident. The accident occurred 80 km from Temuco, where the activist’s body was taken. From A Planeta and Euskal Herria (Basue Country) we mourn the loss of a pelli, and express our solidarity with the pain of his family and community, and with the Mapuche people; and demand once again justice for Macarena Valdes and her family, and to stop destructive projects unwanted by communities. Marichiweu!
Message from Lolita Chávez to Ruben Collio, Ninoska Pailacura and his family:
See interview with l pelli Rubén Collio
Macarena Valdés, known as «La Negra», was found lifeless after years of struggle against the installation of a hydroelectric project in the Panguipu mountain range area in 2016. Macarena’s death is investigated as a homicide, despite the fact that several times the Prosecutor’s Office, and political-business sectors have wanted to close the case. Since her death, Collio has tirelessly sought justice for his partner.
Previously Collio had expressed: «I could dedicate my whole life to seek justice, La Negra is worth it (…) She gave me love… quality of love, quality of life. She gave me my children. I will never be able to compensate for everything she gave me. This is not a waste, it’s just love. It is the least you can do for a person you truly value… and we will continue until the end. We will continue to strengthen and reinvent ourselves until we get what we believe is fair.
The Mapuche activist came from a family of fighters: in February 2021, Marcelino Collío Calcomín died, his father, a prominent Mapuche leader, member of the Mapuche association We Kuyen, who fought against the Pinochet dictatorship and in the nineties joined the Ecological Council of Lo Espejo. She was also part of the Mapuche Political Platform and accompanied her son in the search for justice for Macarena Valdés.
The Movement for the Defense of Access to Water, Land and Environmental Protection, MODATIMA, echoed the tragic event because of their link in the struggle for water with Collio and Valdés. In its social networks MODATIMA expressed «condolences to the Collio Valdés family and the entire Wallmapu community» and desires that «in this New Chile that we are building, justice won’t be something only for the rich and powerful».
The Mapuche Students Organization Valdivia – Wecheke Kawiñ called for a ceremony tonight in his memory to «vindicate the struggle for the defense of territory and life».
The Tranguil River will sing your name, Rubén Collio, and that of La Negra! 💧