February 20, 2003 Quepuca Ralco.
Letter written to Jaime Andrade.
Sub secretary of Planning (MIDEPLAN)

My community has heard of the meetings that you, in representation of the Chilean government, have held with the families that have not been willing to transfer their property for the construction of the Ralco Dam, in Alto Bio Bio, VIII Region.

1. The cemetery of my community will be flooded, as you well know; yet we have not been invited to the meetings being held nor do we know the nature of the agreements that we have heard from the press.
2. The situation known as RALCO concerns much more than just the families who have refused to transfer their land. Among other aspects, there is the issue of the Cemetery of the Mapuche-Pehuenche community Quepuca Ralco. We have raised the cemetery issue with all the authorities who have visited Alto Bío Bío, and as a result we cannot understand how this issue can been neglected in any agreement. We need to know what will happen with our cemetery, which represents for us our Pehuenche cultural rights.

3. Our community needs to know how the Ralco Dam will affect our Mapuche cemetery, our spiritual and religious rights, our ceremonial centers, our respect for our ancestors, and our direct family members who are resting in the sacred places.

4. Our community does not deny the right of these four families to receive a good price for their lands, but we believe that the issues we have planted cannot be excluded.

5. The meetings have been private and variety information has been presented in the press. For this reason, my community requests to be informed on the content of these meetings and agreements. The media has said that there will be an agreement signed in Washington before the Commission of the Organization of American States. We request that the communities be informed before any agreement is signed.

6. My community Quepuca Ralco, asks the government directly to inform us of all the issues being discussed in their meetings and in this way we will have a better idea what will happen with our cultural rights. My community will provide our own proposal to the government in March.

7. The community that I represent is willing to discuss these issues with the government before the signing of any agreement. However, if we do not receive clear information, my community will send an urgent letter to the Inter-American Commission of the Organization of American States so that they can see that many issues which are important to the Pehuenche communities have left outside these agreements.


Maria Curriao Reinao
Community Organization of Quepuca Ralco
Quepuca Ralco, February 20, 2003