By Claudia Korol, Camila Parodi and Laura Salomé Canteros
All of us who are outraged by the hideous face of injustice, those of us who shout with it that our bodies and territories are spaces of freedom, we are all Relmu, but… Relmu is Relmu. He gets up in the morning every day of these days, gets dressed, gives breakfast to his daughters and son, goes with them and he to the court. He hears accusations that insult intelligence spoken in the name of civilization. Hear the rampant racism in the media. Hear absurd arguments used to condemn her. He sees ridiculous evidence, which would be amusing, were it not for such crude maneuvers, a possible sentence of years in prison is lifted.
Last Monday, the trial of Relmu Ñamku began in Zapala, Neuquén territory. Through connected complicities, the oppressors of always: a State, members of national and provincial governments, foreign companies, the judiciary, hegemonic media and repressive forces assist in the criminalization of an original woman, of Mapuche identity and line of survivor and fighter .
The invasion and eviction are outrages in violation of the human rights of native communities. In this prosecution, there is not the notification that almost resulted in the invasion of original property lands or the obedience of the judiciary to foreign companies, but the actions in legitimate defense - of the body territory: life, and the community territory: the identity- of the Mapuches under the constant violence and threats of the executing arms of racism, colonialism and patriarchy that seek to impose their system of domination based on force on a daily basis.
"Get out of our land": what happened in the first three days of the trial
"Almost a dozen witnesses have already testified and none of them pointed to Ñamku as the person responsible for wounding the complainant." With these categorical words, Darío Aranda summarized the third day of the diary of the trial against Relmu. On Wednesday the 28th, declared Verónica Pelayes, a complainant, and who, according to the 8300 portal, expressed "how difficult the whole situation is." Pelayes, "when asked by the defense if he considered the Apache oil company and its hierarchical officials within the judiciary responsible for the events, Pelayes answered yes", upholding the lawsuit he initiated against the government for "having pressured it to take the notification when you were on vacation, and to the oil company for pressing knowing that there was a conflict with the community ”.
In addition, doctors from the complaint and the prosecution testified who exhibited photos of Pelayes's injured face (who would have received the stone for which Relmu Ñamku is accused of "attempted murder") and who made it clear that at no time did he risk his lifetime. Also testifying were José de la Rosa Cárdenas, a doctor from the Zapala police force, and Jorgelina Carmona, a forensic expert from the Neuquén judicial branch. The expert witness maintained that the blow that Pelayes received "could have been from a stone, a stick or a fist," and although both Cárdenas and Carmona credited the injuries, they also ruled out that his life was at risk, as the figure with which he maintains is accused and with which Ñamku is threatened to be sentenced to imprisonment of up to 15 years.
The lawyer for the Apache oil company, currently YPF, Mariano Brillo, also testified, who pointed out that the day of the event it was only a notification to allow him to pass. However, according to journalist Darío Aranda, "the questions from Relmu Ñamku's defense attorney, Martín Maliqueo and Mauricio Rain, revealed the contradictions in the story," when he inquired about the particularity of an amparo obtained on the last business day of the year and prior to the judicial fair (December 28, 2012) and why for a simple notification he had attended with police, private company guards and a backhoe, an event that was confirmed on the day before the trial. In addition, the lawyer for the oil company affirmed "not having seen who threw the stone" that injured Verónica Pelayes.
On Tuesday, 27 police officers put the "evidence" on the table and declared the origin of the same, it was the stones with which the complainant was injured but which, nevertheless, had been collected nine months after the episode. The witnesses did not recognize Relmu Ñamku as the aggressor, but they did remember the company's lawyer, Mariano Brillo, directing the eviction operation. Although the stones themselves could not be recognized as sufficient evidence due to the temporal distance in which they were collected, they were never even exhibited. "Before the jury, it was not clear if they lost them or never had them as evidence," said Darío Aranda in his story. During this day, the presence of the backhoe was confirmed on December 28, with which it demonstrated the objective of razing the fence and the community gate. For Aranda, the confirmation of the machinery and the police personnel were key: "the media discourse installed by the prosecutor Taboada, Pelayes and the lawyer Julián Álvarez is that there was no backhoe, there were no impaled by the oil company or police, and that it was a ´ simple notification 'that implied leaving a paper on the fence ”.
While on Monday 26, the first day, it was developed with the statements of the witnesses provided by the prosecutor's office headed by Sandra González Taboada who from the beginning announced that the trial should only contemplate the actions of the accused and the accused, not the territory and the struggle of the Mapuche people. There, for his part, defense attorney Darío Kosovsky questioned the situation in which they are facing a large-scale trial, knowing that it could have been avoided, recalling in turn the complaints to the oil company previously made by the Winkul Newen community to which belong to his colleagues, who were annulled by the current prosecutor in the case. Policemen Gonzalo Salinas, Santiago Coria and Oscar Castillo confirmed their participation in the intervention, one of them recalling that the lawyer for the Apache oil company was pressuring the justice assistant to achieve territorial advancement over the community. Their coincidence in the story was clear, the claim by the settlers was: "Get off our land" remembering in turn that the stones thrown were at the vehicles and not at the people.
Rage on the body of a woman of the earth
About Relmu, about his life, about that of his brothers from the Winkul Newen community, Martín and Mauricio (the other two defendants), a farce court is being mounted, in which they want to condemn the historical rebellion of a people. All the racist, bourgeois, colonial and patriarchal hatred, rages on the body of a Mapuche woman, a woman of the land, a dignified woman.
It was Relmu who on one occasion, along with other sisters, doused herself with fuel so that “the vultures” would not enter the territory. It is she who put her body in front of the bulldozers that were attempting a new eviction, at the very moment when they were watching over a newborn child, killed by oil contamination. It is she who becomes a giant when she stands in front of the court with dignity as a flag, and with the memory of the warrior people who raised her in rebellion burning in her eyes.
It is Relmu who is sitting on the dock. She is the one with her three children, who ask her what they will do if she has to go to prison. She is the one who looks hard and says that this judgment is against her, but it is against everyone. It is against her, but it is against everyone. It is a trial in which it is intended to give an exemplary punishment to the peoples who decide to defend their way of life, their land, their sky, their rivers, and their lives.
Photos: María Eugenia Cofre and Gustavo Gnf