| related video |

Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Italian filmmakers expelled from Chile.
Government Crackdown On Journalists Continues
Written by Julie Sutor

Two Italian citizens were expelled from Chile earlier this week for their production of a documentary film on the indigenous Mapuche communities of south-central Chile.

The two filmmakers, Dario Ioseffi and Giuseppe Gabriele, were taken from inside Mapuche territory May 3. At the time, they had been recording a Mapuche protest on lands under use by Forestal Mininco, a logging and wood-products company (ST, May 27). The Chupiko community has claimed its rights to the land for almost two decades.

The government rejected the Italians’ petition for “reconsideration” and ordered their immediate expulsion from Chile.

The events represent the third crackdown in recent months on filmmakers seeking to create an outlet for Mapuche opposition to the control of southern forests by timber-harvesting and paper-products industries.

Chilean Elena Varela remains in custody today after her May 7 arrest and confiscation of her equipment and four years’ worth of recordings (ST, June 5). In March, police detained French journalists Christopher Cyril Harrison and Joffrey Paul Rossj for questioning related to a fire on forest company property. Authorities released them several days later.

Chile’s Investigations Police drove the two Italian filmmakers on Monday to the Comodoro Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport where agents escorted them to a plane bound for Italy.

Coincidentally, the expulsion took place just two days before Chile’s National Indigenous Day. President Michelle Bachelet marked the annual observance with a speech from Santiago, declaring, “Multiculturalism makes us better as a country, more democratic and open. And it always obligates us to put ourselves in the shoes of others.”

Bachelet announced a proposal for an Undersecretary of Indigenous Affairs and signed a presidential order tasking each federal government ministry and each regional government office to create specific units to address indigenous issues. She directed each office to propose at least two initiatives that would support indigenous communities.

“In the beginning of this new cycle of life, we renew our commitment to advancing Chile’s indigenous policies that look to build a Social Pact of Multiculturalism,” Bachelet said, marking the new year of Chile’s indigenous communities.

Bachelet also announced the return of 28,000 hectares of land to the indigenous Talabre community in the San Pedro de Atacama Desert. The president committed to honoring indigenous land rights using “all available legal means.”