The cause of Endesa's problems in Chile lies in its own actions.
By the Spanish platform in support of the Mapuche People.
Upon analyzing the information published by the Spanish daily "El Pais" on September 12, 1999, it is quite surprising how the decision of a judge of Santiago de Chile ordering the paralyzation of Endesa's works in the Ralco dam (Alto Biobio), is presented to the public as a part of the analysis of the situation created by Augusto Pnochet's detention.
This is why we feel ourselves in the obligation of clarifying some aspects on Endesa's position in Chile; these aspects have been concealed by the mentioned newspaper in a deliberated manner since the beginning of the conflict.
1) The civil judge who paralyzed the dam works in Ralco acted pursuant to the nullity lawsuit filed by Nicolasa and Berta Quintreman against Endesa and Conama. These women have opposed since the very beginning to give their necessary consent, in compliance with the Chilean indigenous law, so that the works could be started. [See full text of the demand at: http://www.xs4all.nl/~rehue/ralco/ral028b.html]
2) The World Bank had already elaborated a report establishing that the works which had already begun did not meet the necessary legal requirements and therefore the World Bank recommended the suspension of any credits for such works.
3) Endesa's Chilean subsidiary company has acted with evident bad faith toward many of the Pehuenches who had given their conformity to the works, inasmuch as in all of the cases the Pehuenches have acted without the necessary and mandatory legal assistance. We are certain that these contracts would be null and void as a matter of law before any western country civil or mercantile court. [Letter from the Latin American Coordinator of the Pastoral for Indigenous Affairs to Martin Villa, President of Endesa, dated 11dic99. http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/espana/doc/endesa/pastorial.html]
4) To face this situation, Endesa has increased its investments in Chile, thus trying to have full control of the problem. This temerarious 'performance' has been analyzed by the international risk evaluation companies, such as Standard and Poor, which has qualified such investments as a disproportionate increase of risk.
5) The Chilean government has acted in defense of Endesa's general interests and in defense of other companies related to the project, unleashing a systematical and wanton repression, unworthy of a Rule of Law, against the Mapuche communities to the South of the Biobio.
6) At the same time, there is another conflict with multinational forest companies which are eliminating the Araucaria forests as well as other trees unique in the world. The Chilean government has acted in the same way, that is to say, arresting and pursuing the Mapuche communities.
7) In addition to this, there are also reports from international scientific organizations, such as the American Anthropologic Association (USA) and the World Bank, dissuading from the works. [The Pehuenche, the World Bank Group and ENDESA S.A. violations of Human Rights in the Pangue and Ralco Dam Projects on the Bío-Bío River, Chile. By Committee for Human Rights American Anthropological Association http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/espana/doc/endesa/aaa.html]
The reality is that the conflict is based on:
a) The river Biobio is the frontier between the Mapuche-Pehuenche communities and the government of Chile, as it was established in the peace accord signed between this people and Chile. This abnormal fact in the history of Latin America was due to the fact that nobody has been able to exterminate, to date, the Mapuche-Pehuenche People.
It is logical that they consider the beginning of some works in their territories and against their opinion -which is legally mandatory and must be unanimously expressed, a single vote in contrary being sufficient in order to not starting the works- a clear violation of their rights. The mapuche historical right to property is based on the fact that the decision on the transfer of the land can only be taken by unanimity and not by a majority; this fact is accepted in these terms by the Chilean legislation; besides, the transfer of Mapuche lands can only take place between the Mapuche people, their lands not being subject to any sort of servitude or charge.
b) The Chilean laws and the Mapuche mores -whose violation would make void any contractual agreement in the civil and mercantile arena- have been violated in this case, as it has been confirmed by the civil court judgment.
c) Endesa has systematically refused to receive and to listen to the persons directly affected by the conflict. As an example, we can say that during a visit that Nicolasa Quintreman realized to Madrid she was not received by any authority of Endesa, in spite of the fact that Endesa had received in due time and form the interview request.
In the light of these facts, this Platform wishes to declare that exhibiting the consequences without making any reference to their causes, bringing the conflict out of its real context, is a practice that violates all journalistic ethics and that intends to conceal the outrages of a Spanish company in Latin America.
We call upon the Spanish society, and especially the small shareholders who have theirs savings in Endesa shares, for them to take into account this situation which, as the international risk evaluation companies say, puts in danger the necessary capitalization of an electrical company where the State is the majority stockholder.
We would also like to make clear that we consider that Senator for Life Augusto Pinochet Ugarte must be tried for each and everyone of his crimes, among them, the systematical and planned destruction of the Mapuche property community, the assassination and wanton repression of this collectivity, accompanied by the clear intention of producing the extermination and the enforced displacement of the Mapuche population to other zones of Chile.
Spain has a historical debt toward the indigenous communities of the south of the Biobio; this debt, which arises from colonial times, has never been settled in the terms provided for under the documents on impunity on economic and social rights, what makes even more shameful the performance of Endesa Espanha and its subsidiary company in Latin America. [Endesa and the violations of economic, social and cultural rights (DESC) in Chile. By Gregorio Dionis, Equipo Nizkor Editor, sep98: http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/espana/doc/endesa/dionis.html]
All documents related to this conflict can be analyzed through the detailed information that we offer in our web page: http://www.derechos.org/nizkor/espana/doc/endesa/
Madrid, September 12, 1999
Electronic edition by Equipo Nizkor. 20sep99
Este documento es publicado en la internet por Equipo Nizkor y Derechos Human Rights