En este momento estás viendo Message from Argentina, from the heart of unconventional oil & gas exploitation

Message from Argentina, from the heart of unconventional oil & gas exploitation

To the governor of Neuquén province, Rolando Figueroa; to the CEOs of oil companies; to fellow industry workers; environmental activists who defend all life; to the Neuquén society, and the national and international public:

Today we want to send a message, and we do it from the heart of the unchecked exploitation megaproject that is called VacaMuerta. We are not here by chance. We are descendants of the survivors of the so-called “Campaign of the Desert”, led by the genocidal Julio A. Roca, which aimed at the elimination of the indigenous peoples of the Argentine south. Instead of reparation policies, today we are facing a “second campaign of the desert”. Once considered barren and useless for agricultural expansion, today these same lands acquire new value as part of the extractivist fever of this plundering and predatory model. The narrative of the savage who opposes civilization and progress is renewed once again, the savage who needs to learn their lesson through beatings and subjugation.

Today the same legal system that justified the genocide recognizes us as preexisting peoples, that we lived here thousands of years before the creation of this young province that is turning a bit more than six decades old as part of the State. That State, according to the Constitution, has the obligation to guaranteeterritorial security, and it is the State’s obligation to legally register each of the indigenous communities that identify themselves as such. The white man’s law says that we have our own institutions, which should be recognized by the State, with which the Statemust sustain a respectful dialogue and recognition. The law goes further in expressing that theMapuce people has the right to be “part of the management of their resources”. We stress “their” because the Constitution already enshrines our right to the property of said resources due to us being preexisting peoples.

Today the government of Neuquén is violating all those constitutional rights: those written down and documented in the National and Provincial Constitution, in Executive Decrees, and in the 169 ILO Convention, which as an international treaty has supranational value. These instruments are supported by Supreme Court decisions, given that the province of Neuquén has been ordered to apply the right to prior consultation in all federal projects affecting our territories and culture. However, we see how the Executive branch refuses to catch up on the huge debt accumulated since Neuquén became Neuquén.

This is why we will not remain passive in the face of such a level of illegality, abuse of power, and subordination to the will of oil & gas multinationals, who are the only ones getting richer by the day while leaving the province deeper in debt.

This is an urgent call to respond to so many rights being ignored, which generates mechanisms of violence and abuse such as the recent raid against the community LofNewen Kura and the humiliating detention of their main authorities. We will never again allow these type of abuses and institutional violence, just as you should not allow it either. We are aware that Governor Roland Figueroa is right now in Houston, Texas, about to present before the big economic groups anxious to invest in VacaMuerta.


You should know that here, the so-called “legal security in VacaMuerta” is a fallacy as long as the rights of the Mapuce people are violated. We will launch a national and international campaign of information and clarification about what is the role we have been assigned in this perverse game where we are only recipients of increased contamination and the destruction of our territories.

Is there any people who love their history, identity and cosmovision who can accept this role? We honor our freedom fighters who defended all life, the mountains, creeks, rocks, birds, and animals. Any damage to one of those elements endangers our collective life. How interested do you think the oil power is in all of this, as they leave every year tons of dangerous waste?

In the midst of our distress, we salute the oil industry workers who have tried to confront us as if we were the enemy, when in fact we are joined by our working-class condition, which will never put us on opposite sides. We also acknowledge the solidarity of the workers who have respected us every time we were forced to interrupt their work due to a direct-action decision. We wish to continue being united in the fight for justice and rights.

Today we are at the headquarters of the state-run oil company in VacaMuerta waiting for an urgent and much-needed response on the part of a governor who should commit to act in accordance with the law, his own law. He is bound by it to guaranteeing the economic wellbeing of the people, but above all the health, safety, and wellbeing of all the population. In our case, he is also bound to the following before granting any leases:




Fey ka Mvten


*Adapted version of the original communiqué in Spanish: https://confederacionmapuche.org/mensaje-desde-el-corazon-de-la-explotacion/

Traducción: Territorio de Ideas.