Alejandro Alberto Treuquil Treuquil was the leader of a Mapuche community in Collipulli, Chile. He was ambushed and shot to death while he and three others were looking for a lost horse, according to police reports. His community, called the We Newén, claims ancestral rights to a piece of land it has been occupying for seven years. The formal owner of the land is the Frontel electricity company. This crime, from the perspective of those familiar with the context, is related to a series of threats made by Carabineros (local police) and other paramilitary groups that constantly harass communities organised in the struggle over Mapuche land. Alejandro, along with 60 families who participated in the recuperation of the San Antonio Institute, drew the attention of hitmen from power groups in the area who are often protected by the Chilean police and judicial system. Alejandro’s wife reported that armed police officers had inspected their land the day before Alejandro’s death and had threatened to kill him after he asked them to leave.
In response to Treuquil’s killing, the community published a statement denouncing ongoing police persecutions in the area. According to the the statement, since May 13 2020, the community had been under “a state of siege.”
“We have been victims of illegitimate police persecution, for which a preventive appeal for protection was filed, revealing the constant and repeated threats suffered by the people of the community and especially by our werkén, who died today,” the statement reads. “Our werkén was cowardly murdered by individuals from outside the community while he was searching for one of his horses nearby.”
Héctor Cabrapán, the newly-appointed werkén following Treuquil’s murder, spoke with Radio and Diario Universidad de Chile about the police presence ahead of the murder of Treuquil. “For three days and nights we were getting oppressed by police … my peñi [brother] received a death threat from them.”