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Chilean Advisory Group Wants President to Apologize for Mapuche Conflict

LADB Article ID: 80230
Category/Department: Chile
Date: 2017-03-03
By: Benjamin Witte-Lebhar

With the clock ticking down on her second and presumably final term as president, Michelle Bachelet is expected to make a last-ditch effort to calm the so-called Mapuche conflict, a deeply complex social and political problem that has hounded the center-left leader since she first came to power more than a decade ago. Bachelet served as president from 2006 to 2010 before returning to office in 2014.The policy push, which the Bachelet administration promises to outline in the coming weeks, follows a recent uptick of violence in the central Araucanía region, home to a large percentage of Chile’s ethnic Mapuches. The Mapuches are the country’s largest indigenous group and the victim, in the late 1800s, of a so-called “pacification” campaign that cost the tribe most of its ancestral lands in the Araucanía area. Bachelet’s plan is likely to draw heavily on proposals presented earlier this year by the Comisión Asesora Presidencial de La Araucanía, a special advisory group formed last July and headed by Bishop Héctor Vargas, a Catholic Church leader in Temuco, the region’s capital.

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