ERCILLA – A new tragic low in the ongoing violence in the Araucanía region. A young Mapuche man died after receiving a bullet in the head from a member of the so-called Jungle Commando. As the death of the man became public, protests erupted in front of La Moneda in Santiago.
Camilo Catrillanca Marín, 24 years old and grandson of indigenous chief, or lonko, Juan Cantrilla Antín, was shot in the head during a shootout between armed men and members of the Jungle Commando in the commune of Ercilla.
According to police reports, he was shot in the head while driving a tractor. Some minutes before, Carabineros had been chasing a group of masked men who had robbed three cars. During this chase, shots had been fired by both sides, officials say.
According to Radio Bíobío, a group of Carabineros and members of the so-called Jungle Commando special force chased a group of masked men who earlier had stolen three cars from teachers at the Santa Rosa School. Two of the cars could be recovered.
While going for the third car, the Carabineros were met by a group of armed men, who surrounded them and fired at them with automatic guns. During the shootout, a tractor passed by with the 24-year-old victim. After being shot in the head, the Catrillanca was brought to the hospital, where he died.
Protest after death of Catrillanca
In the aftermath of the death of the Mapuche man, a group of around 50 men gathered outside presidential palace La Moneda in Santiago to protest against the violence of the Chilean government against the Mapuche people.
Protestors yelled at Carabineros, calling them “murderers”. When the protestors caused traffic problems along La Alameda avenue in from of La Moneda, the Carabineros intervened and three protestors were arrested.
The death of Catrillanca is a new tragic chapter in the ongoing violence in the Araucanía region. As Mapuche people have been resisting the occupation of their ancestral lands by the Chilean government, the government has installed the Anti-Terrorism Law. The law permits the government to arrest anyone suspected of terrorism, although “terrorism” is not defined.
A group of elite Carabineros has been trained in Colombia to work in the rural region. The so-called Jungle Commando has been criticized by human rights organizations and the opposition. They say the force provokes violence, rather than bringing peace to the region.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and made appearances on BBC World Services and ABC News during major events in Chile.