24 year old Camilo Catrillanca was murdered November 14th during an invasion of his community by the US-trained special ‘anti-terrorist’ unit of the Chilean police, Comando Jungla.
The invasion of the community involved nearly 400 police personnel, during which officers shot and killed a young Mapuche community member Camilo Catrillanca, who was returning home from work on his tractor.
Thousands organized across Chile to condemn the murder. Police responded with repression, tear gas, and detaining dozens. Political prisoners in the Temuco prison stood on the roof of the facility in protest over the murder of the youth by the State.
Comando Jungla or “Jungle Command” is a special police unit formed in June of this year by Chile’s president Sebastian Piñera, the latest in a series of brutal and repressive measures against the Mapuche communities in Chile and Argentina. The unit was trained by the United States as part of expanding ‘anti-terrorism’ operations into Chile.
The intense militarization is a threat to the indigenous communities who peacefully resist and reiterate their right to remain on the land. In Chile and Argentina, the Mapuche communities have been engaged in processes of land recuperation to take back their ancestral territory from large property owners.
After the murder, Lonko Alberto Curamil Millanao, a Mapuche leader and political prisoner in the Temuco jail, made a statement, “I know that they assassinated Camilo while he worked on the recovered land. As such, we must continue recovering our land and territory, but above all, respond to this aggression as is necessary. A brother that struggled so much for his land can never die.”
For years, the Mapuche have been subject to State genocide and oppression with the intent of ensuring their extinction. This most recent murder took place a year after the killing of another youth from the community, Rafael Nahuel. Nahuel was shot in the back while he was running from the police repressing his community.