|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
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