Saturday, December 9, 2023

A national official will face trial for using an official truck to transport Mapuches to a land occupation

The Federal Justice of Bariloche has set the date for the prosecution of the vice president of the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI), Luis Pilquimán, and his son Lucas for allegedly committing the crimes of embezzlement of public funds and for to block a national. route, respectively.

The national official was surprised during the pandemic when he took a family in an official car from Rio Negro South Line to the usurpation maintained by the community of Lafken Winkul Mapu in Villa Mascardi, 35 kilometers from Bariloche.

The car, a Toyota Hilux, was stopped during a check carried out by the local municipality with police personnel: the inspectors realized that it did not have a travel permit – if the restrictions to do so were strict -, it did not have insurance and even the official does not have mandatory registration to drive.

On that occasion, Pilquimán admitted to the workers that he was on his way to the property seized by the Mapuche community in 2017, although he later changed his version and accused them of distorting the information that he himself had sent.

The driver’s license expired five months earlier, although the inspectors removed this irregularity due to the flexibility that exists, as a result of the pandemic, to implement renewal procedures. However, other irregularities are considered.

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During the operation, the Mapuche leader “chapeo” – as stated in the infraction report – with the position he held, although the municipal workers remained firm in the decision not to allow him to continue.

The official truck driven by Luis Pilquimán when he transported a family to a Mapuche land usurpation in Villa Mascardi

The case came to court in May 2021, when Pilquimán was charged for allegedly violating article 260 of the Penal Code for the correctional crime of embezzlement of public funds. The punishment establishes that “the public official who gives the funds or effects that he manages in an application that is different from what they are intended for will be punished with a special disqualification from one month to three years.”

According to the file, the person used the official car for “exclusive benefit, negatively affecting the surveys of the territory to be carried out and where it was intended.”

The Toyota Hilux belongs to the Ministry of the Government of Río Negro, however, within the framework of the Specific Agreement for the Territorial Survey of Indigenous Communities, it was transferred within 20 days to the INAI to carry out territorial surveys in the Mapuche communities of Buenuleo, Maliqueo and Quijada, all located around Bariloche.

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The acting federal judge of Bariloche, Gustavo Villanueva, established that the judicial process will begin on November 21 in the Patagonian city.

The son of the national official, Lucas – known as “Witness E” in the case of the death of Santiago Maldonado, will also visit the same bank as his father, although for a different event linked to the demonstrations of Mapuche. The test will take place in the first days of October.

The incident under investigation occurred on November 25, 2018, when the young man and other members of the Lafken Winkul Mapu community cut Route 40 near Villa Mascardi, on the first anniversary of the death of Mapuche Rafael Nahuel.

During the demonstration, serious incidents were recorded, as protestors wearing hoodies damaged the windows of private cars and a bus, burned tires and disrupted the circulation of vehicles for several hours.

Although at the time of the claim Pilquimán could not be identified, because he was wearing a hood, the investigators did it the next day in an operation carried out by the National Gendarmerie at the Villegas River post, a few kilometers from the place where the cut is made. because he is wearing the same clothes.

Pilquimán did not appear in the various summons issued by the Federal Court, so his rebellion was declared. In July of this year, he was recognized during a visit by the leader of the Mapuche Ancestral Resistance (RAM) group, Facundo Jones Huala, who remains detained at Unit 14 in Esquel.

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Officials from the Federal Penitentiary Service checked the documentation he submitted to enter the visit and confirmed that he showed an extensive list of Mapuche references in the same situation, so they arrested him.

The members of the Association of Lawyers of the Argentine Republic, defending Pilquimán, reduced the procedure and said that “this is a case for damages, because of a situation that arose because of a march when killed Rafita Nahuel. “This is an old case with an investigation.”

Pilquimán became known in 2016, during the investigation of the disappearance and death of Santiago Maldonado, by saying that he saw when members of the National Gendarmerie detained him, beat him and dragged him to a car of that force, even although he later refused and gave in. another version of the story. what happened. He was baptized as “Witness E.” When he had to confirm that version in front of judicial officials, he retracted and assured that he saw Maldonado exhausted, in the middle of the Chubut River, almost covered in water.

Nation World News Desk
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