Posted by: Paula Delgado-Kling | November 4, 2010

Chile’s FARC Connections

The indigenous of south-central Chile, the Mapuches of Araucanía, have struggled since the time of the Spaniards, and even as far back as the time of the Incas, to maintain their heritage and regain their ancestral land. Chile exports, via Japanese and Swiss private companies, close to US $600 million in lumber to the U.S., most of which comes from the Araucanía region. Mapuche activists do what they can for the protection of their forests—most of which results in clashes with local authorities.

Though Mapuches, headquartered 600 kilometers south of Santiago, comprise close to five percent of the Chilean population, they posess no real political representation. In 1993, the Chilean government passed La Ley Indigena, Law number 19253, which officially recognized the Mapuche people and seven other ethnic minorities. However, in recent years, anti-terrorism laws passed during the Pinochet years have led to the prosecution of Mapuche activists.

Now, a Colombian prosecutor has delivered evidence to the Piñera government: A 200–page dossier with intelligence and photos proving that members of the Coordinadora Arauco-Malleco (CAM), an organization which seeks land rights for the Mapuches, received military training in FARC camps. Further, a former FARC testified that a Mapuche helped him get to a FARC camp on the frontier between Colombia and Ecuador.

This FARC camp (or one of many), located somewhere in a mountain range in northern Ecuador, was allegedly run by the now-deceased FARC leader Raul Reyes. Photos and documents found in computers in Reyes’s camp revealed that another Chilean, Manuel Olate, alias “Roque,” visited Reyes at the camp at least five or six times. Forty-three-year-old Olate, a graphic designer, has been a Communist Party member and an active member of Chile’s oppostion scene since the latter years of the military dictatorship in the late 1980s. In the 1990s, he reportedly co-founded a core Chilean support group to the FARC, as well as the Coordinadora Continental Bolivariana (CCB), considered to be a front organization for the FARC that operates throughout Latin America.

Olate was reportedly in charge of creating another front group, the Committee of Solidarity with the Colombian People, to avoid being identified as the Chilean cell of the FARC. Additional communication found on the computers shows Reyes thanking Roque “for the sale of products, the collection of money, propaganda and relations with other organizations related to the FARC.” Emails spoke of eight tons of arms awaiting in northern Chile.

Additional documents reveal seven other members of the Chilean Communist Party (CP) had contact with the FARC’s “international front.” It includes party President Guillermo Teillier, now an elected deputy to Congress, who said that his party had never denied communicating with FARC. However, he insisted that the CP never worked directly with FARC.

Further, two other Chilean women apparently came along with Olate to the FARC camp.


  1. Hey compañero, realmente tenido gusto este poste. Can’ t parece conseguirlo para dar formato a la derecha en Internet Explorer, se dobla todo para arriba, pero no trabaja muy bien en Firefox tan ninguna preocupación.

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