Machi Celestino Announces Dry Hunger Strike, “Rewe or death.” (Mapuche Territory, Chile)


(This communique comes from Mapuche authorities, family, friends and the support network of the Machi Celestino Córdova. It speaks to the Machi Celestino’s decision to take his hunger strike to the next level, refusing to take in liquids. The situation is dire. We encourage everyone to remain attentive to the situation and show their solidarity in anyway they can. The original in Spanish was published by Radio Kürrüf and can be found here).

July 19, 2018

We are reporting, with great concern, that our Machi leader Celestino (Mapuche traditional and spiritual healer) is in critical condition after 102 days of partaking in a hunger strike + 49 days since restarting the strike. Although the Machi’s life is at risk, he will not accept being transferred to any Western medical hospital. His will is to die with dignity in this critical situation, so long as he is being denied his right to health and spirituality. We stress that the Interior Minister and the President of the Republic Sebastian Piñera are directly responsible as their government, with no political will at all, has shown no respect for the distinctive features of indigenous peoples nor their traditional, spiritual authorities. They are applying an outdated prison rule that does not guarantee the human right of health to the Machi.

Historically we know that our Mapuche struggle and resistance has never been easy. Unfortunately, the null answer from the government represents a blatant scam to the Machi and all of the people of our Mapuche Nation and the conscious Chilean people. We haven’t forgotten that in April, the Machi temporarily dropped the strike and was open to dialogue. In response, the governor of Cautín said that it would not negotiate while there was an ongoing strike. After this gesture from our Machi, there was no response from the government. Therefore, the hunger strike resumed with no progress being made and no willingness on the part of the authorities to resolve this critical situation.

Today our Machi Celestino is seriously ill with “kutran machi” which can cost him his life. In this context, the Machi Celestino Córdova has taken the bold decision to start a dry hunger strike starting on Monday, July 23, 2018. He will not ingest food or liquids of any kind, putting himself at risk for a fatal outcome due to his current fragile health condition. We thus are calling for the urgent support of all individual and organized communities to mobilize so that the State and current government can understand once and for all what the “NO renewal” of Rewe authorization means for Machi Celestino. We thank all those who have mobilized in the various territories by either joining the strike, speaking or demonstrating in different ways. We can see that the government has no will to dialogue or keep its word. We urge you to stay involved and be active.

We call for support of the honorable resistance of Machi Celestino Córdova and to participate in the defense of spirituality, land, nature, its balance and the protection of sacred places. Every gesture is important and contributes. It’s time to act, to use your imagination, in freedom of action from every territory.

Finally, we invite you to a multi-territorial day on July 22 and 23 nationally and internationally:

Santiago March. Sunday July 22 11.00 Plaza Italia
Temuco March. Monday July 23 10.00 Plaza Hospital

Mapuche authorities, Spokespeople, Relatives, Friends and Support Network for Machi Celestino Córdova.