It all started after 6.30 pm this Thursday when Diego Frutos, owner of the La Cristalina ranch in Villa Mascardi, Bariloche, was threatened by a group of “hooded “, allegedly members of the Lafken Winkul Mapu Mapuche community, who persecuted him and forced him to hide in a mountain forest until he was rescued by the police.
Precisely, the security forces were alerted after Frutos sent an exasperating WhatsApp message to a neighbor where he asked for help. “They appeared, I’m in La Cristalina, upstairs, next to the henhouse, Lucho, they went to look for more, they ran me upI’m on the side of your house notify the police, please “, begs Frutos with an agitated voice in the audio that was also broadcast through social networks.
According to what was reported by different local media, the Río Negro Police first confirmed the receipt of repeated calls denouncing the episode, and immediately ordered a major operation in the Mascardi area to try to find Frutos, who was suspected he had hidden in a neighboring forest.
Neighbors indicated that according to the audio message, sent around 7 p.m., and in which Frutos denounced the harassment in La Cristalina, the victim was fleeing to the top of the mountain to take cover.
The search began after 21 on Thursday, after the notice of his neighbors, who said that Frutos fled an alleged attack carried out by those who they occupy the lands neighboring their house. They even assured that they were heard screaming and shooting after the message.
Mobile phones from Police Station 42, personnel from the Special Operations and Rescue Command (COER) and the prosecutor Betiana Cendón, in charge of the case, arrived at the scene. Meanwhile, the neighbors accompanied with vehicles and reflectors to collaborate in the desperate search that was affected by the heavy snow that froze the roads.
The police together with the neighbors raked the area of a property known as El Radal and also the property of Frutos.
For that instance, a small group of residents concentrated in the civic center of Bariloche to demand the appearance of Frutos. “We want Diego Frutos alive”, claimed a young man in a message uploaded to social networks.
According to the newspaper The Cordillerano, the man, who claimed to have been the victim of harassment by “Hooded”, was found in a wooded area, located behind his property La Cristalina.
It was around 11:10 p.m. when COER troops located the president of the Neighborhood Council and transferred him to Route 40, where an ambulance was waiting for him to take him to a medical center in the center.
“It is very wet, good but wet and cold,” said one of the neighbors who went to Villa Mascardi to closely follow the search and rescue of Frutos.
The clashes between the settlers and the Mapuche community have intensified since the occupation in 2017.
This alleged attack occurred the day after the First Forum organized by the Bariloche Consensus Table, which was held this Wednesday, and which had been convened to discuss the progress of Mapuche communities to public and fiscal territories.
Frutos was one of the exhibitors at the meeting and strongly questioned the actions of the community, which in 2017 usurped lots belonging to National Parks and private properties. In this context, he also charged the national government for its “inaction” before the advance of the “hooded criminals“.
The gaze was also placed on the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI), headed by Magdalena Odarda, who was questioned by resolution 43 that gave rights to a community over a part of 3,500 hectares in the custody of the National Army called Central Park.
Claim of the provincial governments against the advance of the Mapuches
This week Bariloche hosted the first “Consensus Forum”, which was convened precisely to discuss the problem of land occupations in Patagonia, with a focus on Mapuche violence.
The meeting was attended by neighbors, associations, national, provincial and municipal authorities, lawyers, journalists and other organizations. But the highlight was the claim of the governments of Río Negro and Chubut that severely questioned the government of Alberto Fernández for favor usurpations to private property and public lands in those provinces by Mapuche communities.
The controversy intensifies when the Mapuche communities claim the creation of a state of its own and they do not know the national state.
In this context, the governor of Río Negro, Arabela Carreras, denounced that “Outrages and abuses” from officials of the national government “against the majority sentiment” of the province.
“We totally repudiate any act of aggression of all kinds. Any consensus table has to be thought of as non-violent,” he transmitted. The governor.
Governor Arabela Carreras at the Bariloche Consensus Forum. Photo: Twitter
But the criticism was directed at the resolution of the director of the National Institute of Indigenous Affairs (INAI), Magdalena Odarda, with which she gave rights to a community over a part of 3,500 hectares in the custody of the National Army called Central Park.
For his part, the Minister of Security of Chubut, Federico Massoni, warned about “serious problems of usurpations endorsed by national officials” on Route 40 at the height of Lake Puelo. “Here we are not talking about communities of native peoples, we are talking about people who commit crimes“, he pointed.
Massoni assured that “the usurpation problems in his province occur because (the occupiers) are endorsed by some officials on duty.”
The official indicated that the usurpers follow an “illegal doctrine”, promoted by the social leader Juan Grabois, “in which it seems that everyone has the right to what belongs to the other.” At this point he again referred to the Intendants of the Andean Region and warned that at that time they observed that “A Buenos Aires suburb was in the making”.
Constitutionalist Daniel Sabsay also criticized Magdalena Odarda whom he pointed to as the promoter of “the creation of a Mapuche state”, that since they are not happy with Argentina “we have to give them a portion of land.”