29 May 2006

MAPUCHES END HUNGER STRIKE

(May 29, 2006) Senator Alejandro Navarro convinced four Mapuche prisoners on a hunger strike to end their protest last Friday after the group resumed the strike on May 15th. All four prisoners are under medical supervision at the intensive care unit of the Temuco Regional Hospital because of organ damage due to the prolonged fast.

Juan and Jaime Marileo, Juan Carlos Huenulao and Patricia Troncoso resumed the hunger strike last Saturday (ST, May XX) claiming that Chile’s government had failed to uphold a bargain that ended the first hunger strike on May 15. The agreement, negotiated by Senators and clergy from the Catholic Church, promised that the Congress would review their cases and decide on a resolution, proposed by Sen. Navarro, within 10 days.

The group initially agreed to the compromise but unexpectedly resumed the strike five days before the agreed upon deadline. In addition, the group protested the government’s demand that they renounce violence as a political tool using the demand as a justification for reinitiating the strike.

Doctors at the hospital described the prisoners’ condition as critical. All have lost at nearly 20 kilos (44 lbs.) and are experiencing frequent fainting spells.

SOURCES: LA NACIÓN, EL MERCURIO, RADIOCOOPERATIVA