We celebrate the victory of the community of Las Huaytecas. Marichiwew!

(Castellano) (Euskera)

The Mapuche community of Las Huaytecas in the El Foyel area (Wallmapu under Argentine administration) succeeded on July 7th in overcoming a new eviction attempt in the courts. In addition to being their ancestral territory and in which they have the right to remain, they are threatened by the advance of pine monoculture plantations. In fact, its name comes from the Guaitecas cypress (Pilgerodendron uviferum), a native species that is threatened, among other things, by the proliferation of monoculture timber plantations. Because Lof (community) Las Huaytecas does not have the right to reside in its ancestral territory but has proven to be the only one that can contribute to the conservation of ecosystems and biodiversity. In this new victory of this community we join their celebrations and we extend them to this Planet that fights against deforestation, desertification, climate emergency and for biodiversity. Thank you for resisting Lof Las Huaytecas. Marichiweu!!!! THEY WILL NOT PASS!


Mirta Ñancunao, activist of the community of Las Huaytekas, explains this situation:

Mari mari puloncó, mari mari puwerken, mari mari pillankuse, mari mari machi, mari mari kompuche!(1)

The Huaytekas community is located at the foot of the Serrucho mountain range in El Foyel, 30 km from El Bolsón and 90 km from Briloche. For more than 125 years the different generations of the seventeen families that make up this community have been uninterruptedly exercising the position of the territory, including the recovery of lonko Foyel and his daughter Margarita Foyel, whose remains, kidnapped at the Museum of La Plata, were returned to the territory in 2015.

The policies of dispossession of Mapuche territory, in particular that of the Mapuche community Las Huaytekas continues to be a constant, starting with the national state with the so-called desert view and continuing with the provincial state at the time of the dictatorship of the 1970s, when both states promoted forestry policies aimed at the implementation of pine trees in the mountain range area.

Return of Margarita Foyel’s remains in 2015.

In this way, both forestry entrepreneurs and the Andean Forestry Service and the company Forestal Rionegrina Sociedad Anónima, better known as Emforsa, invaded our territory. We are currently in litigation with all of them. Not content with condemning the families to live in a forest destroyed and invaded by pine trees, the province not only tried to appropriate in 2001 the millenary forest of Huaytekas, considered by us as the Ngen Mapu, but in 2008, during the administration of the then governor Miguel Sáiz, it granted the forestry businessman José Luis Silbeberg a property title over the northern sector of the north of Huaytekas.

Guaitecas cypress.

And not only that: in 2010 Saiz authorized a tourist development project called El Foyel Solares de la Comarca to the north of the forest of Las Huaytekas. It should be clarified that the territorial conflict that the community maintains with Silbeberg originated in 1976, when the province granted an occupation permit over the territory in possession of this community for the planting of pine trees. He was then evicted on two occasions for not complying with the Province’s requirements, i.e., it did not plant pine trees in the areas it had cleared. In the meantime, the community kept their animals, built a house and continued to claim the land and their right of possession. But unfortunately it was never heard.

On the contrary: in 1996 Silbeberg handed over two used 4 x 4 trucks to the provincial government, one of them with a seizure order. This delivery was to compensate for the forestry tasks included and in exchange for obtaining again the occupation permit, survey permit, property title and finally the authorization of the urbanization project, whose works have been suspended since 2013 by order of a precautionary measure requested by the community.

Mirta Ñancunao: «All of our native plants have medicinal properties. We try to use the most abundant species. Huaytekas is a very scarce species of cypress. That is why we try not to use it, touch it… we use others with the same properties».

This is the second time that Silbeberg has filed a complaint for usurpation against the community. The first was in 2009, but the accused were dismissed. The second and the one the community is facing today is a possible forced eviction by Judge Ricardo Calcagno. On the other hand, it is important to point out that Silbeberg not only has a conflict with the Mapuche community but also with the province of Río Negro since the province filed a lawsuit in 2014 requesting the nullity of the property title he has, a case that is still unresolved.

Needless to say that if the eviction is ordered, the Huaytekas community along with other communities will resist in the territory because if the tourism and real estate development goes ahead, it will not only affect the ceremonial space and the water supply of the families of this community, but will also accelerate the pace of destruction of the Guaitecas cypress forest, given that these species live in a small spring from which the green intends to supply water to the 60 cabins, the golf course and the 5 and 11-a-side soccer fields included in its ambitious real estate project.

For all these reasons the community says: let’s move towards the eradication of the pine trees and the forestry policies promoted by the Province. Enough of forced evictions, enough of militarizing the territories. Rafael Nahuel, Santiago Maldonado and Elías Garay are present now and always!

(1) greetings ringleaders, greetings messengers, greetings authorities, greetings shaman, greetings to all

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