Thursday, January 10, 2008

SN Power (Statkraft Norfund) to cancel 600 million dollar hydro-power project after exec. shot at by Mapuche sympathizer in Santiago, Chile

(Jan. 9, 2008) Mario Marchese – an employee of a Norwegian company developing hydro projects in southern Chile - was shot at twice Monday morning as he was entering his car in the Las Condes borough of Santiago. Before leaving the scene of the crime the attacker dropped six fliers with the handwritten acronym “CAM” on them. Police investigators believe the acronym denotes the perpetrator’s affiliation with the Mapuche activist group Community Coordinator for Auraco-Malleco Conflict (CAM).

The shots missed Marchese and hit the driver's-side door of his car. Marchese said that he believes the gunman was not intending to hurt him, since he was in point-blank range and could have easily shot him.

Marchese is the Subsidiary Manager for Norwegian electric company SN Power and Executive Vice-President of SN Power’s Chilean subsidiary, Hidroeléctrica Troyenko. The hydroelectric firm currently has four new dam projects currently underway in Region XIV. The Troyenko projects are resisted by local communities, particularly in Panguipulli, which is predominantly Mapuche.

Marchese’s job with Troyenko has been to conduct informational sessions with the communities that would be affected by the development projects. Troyenko’s claims its policy regarding the projects has been one of active dialog with the local community. But local activists disagree, claiming Troyenko’s representatives have been only arrogant and unyielding to local concerns up until now.

(Talks like Endesa is currently holding in the Aysen Region: Hydroaysen Keeping Public in the Dark, Say Chile Dam Critics )

Hidroeléctrica Troyenko announced the temporary suspension of its projects in the Panguipulli region in late December due to pressure from Mapuche groups. Nils M. Huseby, SN Power’s Vice-President in Latin America , now says the Norwegian firm will certainly cancel the projects in light of Monday's attack, prematurely arriving at a decision that was supposed to made at the end of January. The company is concerned about security issues and has chastised Chile’s government for the lack of adequate security.

(Chile is already trying the Mapuche under Military Tribunals as Terrorists and ignoring them in the Judicial System. How much more repression does the Norwegian Government want? See: Chile’s century-long policy of discrimination and dispossession endures , Mapuche lands serve as garbage dump for Chilean Nation - United Nations investigates Environmental Discrimination , Small Mapuche community rests all of its hopes on a group of strangers in far-away Washington, DC - Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) )

CAM director Patricio Nekul stated his organization had nothing to do with Monday's attack and described CAM's mission as the “recuperation of indigenous land.” The organization has launched several campaigns against various national and multinational corporations that run operations on indigenous property, including campaigns against energy company Endesa and forestry company Arauco.

(More about Endesa and the Mapuche here:

Journeyman Pictures presents "Damming of the Biobio River" - Endesa SA verses the Mapuche - What to expect from Endesa during the HydroAysen struggle.

Switch Off - 2004 Documentary of the Mapuche struggle against the international energy conglomerate, Endesa SA

Endesa Strategy & Tactics I – Revisiting the Ralco & Pangue Hydroelectric Projects on the Rio Bio Bio )

Nekul assured the press that an attack like this is completely outside CAM’s ideals and methods and insisted that the presence of handwritten fliers is not sufficient evidence to implicate his organization.

The Observatory for the Rights of Indigenous People later released a statement about the attack, denouncing all forms of violence as contrary to their goal of promoting inter-ethnic relations.

“We cannot avoid expressing our surprise in regard to these acts,” said their communiqué. “CAM has limited its territorial actions to the Arauco-Malleco region, and is not one of the organizations that has any presence in the region where Trayenko plans to build the dams … an act of this type doesn't hold any logic for the communities affected by (the Trayenko projects).”

The case is currently under investigation by the Eastern Metropolitan Prosecutor’s Office in Las Condes.

Here is the full article.