CMPC Companies President supports reserved parliamentary seats for indigenous groups and their constitutional recognition in Chile

“It’s time to stop playing dumb. It’s time to understand there are historic reasons for this problem, and there are unmet promises,” stated the CMPC Companies President Luis Felipe Gazitúa during a conversation on Diálogo Permanente. He spoke with Senator Francisco Huenchumilla (DC) for more than an hour about adressing the Mapuche conflict.

This was the first discussion that took place after this past August when Luis Felipe Gazitúa stated that CMPC is open to a dialogue on all the pertinent topics with whoever need be included about the Mapuche conflict. Senator Huenchumilla responded that if he were President of the Republic, he would immediately invite Gazitúa to a meeting with the Ministry of the Interior.

The conversation was lead by the former Conadi Director Jorge Retamal who asked each man about 20 questions each plus additional ones posed by the audience. They both agreed that this is a historic opportunity to take charge of the problems facing indigenous groups in Chile.

The CMPC President professed his absolute conviction that the indigenous groups must have reserved parliamentary seats because, “To me this is a tremendous opportunity to renew the trust of native people in the institutionality of the Republic and the State.”

Furthermore, he stated that he agrees with the constitutional recognition of indigenous peoples as, “This would help us acknowledge the multicultural aspect of our society.”

He added that the company raised these same suggestions with the presidential advisory committee of the Araucanía area referred to as the Vargas Commission, given that it was lead by Bishop Héctor Vargas. It convened from 2016 to 2017.

The senator for the Araucanía Region was also in favor of ensuring these quotas and their constitutional recognition, but added that a political, cultural, social, historical, public security, and multi-system solution should be sought for the regional conflict in which the central theme is a policy lead by the head of state.

However, he stressed that, “I think the political will of number one in Chile – the head of state – has been lacking. If this number one does not have the political will, no administrator or authority, man or woman, will be able to solve this issue.”

Both Gazitúa and Huenchumilla were unequivocal in their condemnation of the violence going on in the Arauco province. Gazitúa said that, “Violence in the Araucanía is like a sick person with a fever. If someone runs a fever, it’s a symptom that the organism has something wrong with it. If the fever goes up, it shows the root of the problem hasn’t been treated. Problems have to be solved at their roots without evasion.”

He added that, “This requires much more political will across the board. At its foundation this is about recovering the dignity of the Mapuche people and aiming toward their economic and social prosperity. The Mapuche people need dignity.”

Huenchumilla emphasized that, “Leaders must not merely condemn the violence. They need to find the explanation for the current violence and figure out what the reason is in order to avoid making any mistakes,” with regard to the measures to be taken and finding the right solutions.

Gazitúa added that, “Unfortunately, the bullheaded past behavior shows that the issue of the Araucanía has not been a priority for any of the recent governments. I have not seen this problem truly addressed by the State except for the Bishop Vargas commission and the unfinished work of former Minister Alfredo Moreno. I for one in recent years have not seen any long-term perspective coming from the State to deal with the situation.”

He explained that it is not a criticism of specific governments but, “The lack of a long-term State policy coupled with the limited duration of governments and political authorities lasting four or maybe eight years does not go very far in solving a complex problem that has many angles.”

“This is something that will likely require several years to get resolved,” added the business leader.

“There is room for everyone in the Araucanía region. Everyone counts. Both the people and the forestry companies in the Araucanía matter. I agree that we have to become a stronger development factor and take on a more active and involved role,” stated Gazitúa.

Lastly, the CMPC President confirmed that, “Dialogue is the path forward. We are available to discuss any topic with any conversation partner in any place. The path is to listen to each other and exchange views.”