Guns and fish: Salmon industry signs up with large union to address Mapuche-related violence

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SalmonChile signs up with 165 unions that make up the National Multigremial.

In a statement, large Chilean union the Multigremial Nacional has taken a tone straight out of the National Rifle Union’s playbook, going all out on the Mapuche-related violence that’s been hitting the south of the Latin American country.

SalmonChile, the trade organisation representing Chile’s largest salmon farmers including AquaChile, Cermaq Chile, Salmones Camanchaca signed up to ask the State to “recover the rule of law in the shortest time.”

Multigremial Nacional appeared to say that it will take the law into its own hands if the state did not intervene, declaring that “otherwise, we declare ourselves free to take other demonstration actions with the aim of requiring the powers of the state to solve the problem”.

The conflict is a seemingly long endless one in Chile, which has its roots in the 1800s when the indigenous Mapuche had most of their land taken from them and were moved to a region known as the Araucania. There has been a volatile, and often violent relationship between authorities and the indigenous group since.

In the past, groups claiming to represent the interests of Chile’s Mapuche people have attacked salmon farming sites, claiming it as ancestral land.

In this case, Coordinator Arauco-Malleco or (CAM) was involved. The Mapuche political organisation carry out various sabotage actions by which some sectors have granted them a terrorist group. Founded in 1998 CAM sometimes uses violent actions to achieve its political project, which is the claim, recovery and independence of its ancestral territories of the Mapuche people over the jurisdiction of the State of Chile.

Multigremial Nacional said that “the existing terrorism does not allow working or living in peace, violates the human rights of defenceless citizens and progressively destroys democracy.”

It added that they know the “members of the true Mapuche people, peaceful citizens, workers, lovers of the land, fathers and mothers of families who have no relationship with violence.”

But it concluded that “the unions, entrepreneurs and workers are overwhelmingly more than the terrorists and violent men who today destroy, intimidate, loot, burn, murder, traffic drugs and bully. The fearful silence of the majority feeds the violent. For this reason, we have decided to stop being a great silent majority.”