The Mapuche of Neuquén met with the Vaca Muerta oil companies on the Néstor Kirchner pipeline.
The Mapuche and Tehuelche communities of Neuquén will have a voice and vote in decisions which have to do with Argentina’s economic prosperity. In particular with Dead cow and, more precisely, with the construction of the Néstor Kirchner gas pipeline, that essential project that never ends. Omar Gutiérrez’s Neuquén government presented them on Tuesday a prior consultation protocol this will allow them to oppose the development of this crucial infrastructure if it is shown to cross lands considered ancestral.
In a hearing held in a sports center, communities gathered in the orbit of the Neuquén Mapuche Confederation received the official proposal as an achievement. They feel they can be part of the decisions that will have to do with energy production and that this new tool – which they promised to analyze before approving – It allows them to claim financial compensation in certain cases.
The Mapuche Confederation is composed of six zonal councils, whose authority is the coordinator Jorge Nahuel: there is the Xawvnko (Confluence), Picunche (North), Huiliche (South zone), Ragince Kvmun (Center), Pewenche (Aluminé zone) and Lafkenche (Villa La Angostura area). Not everyone agrees with the “offer” presented by the provincial government. Those who are not on Vaca Muerta’s land, for example, have other types of complaints and believe they are not covered in the protocol. The internal discussion of the communities, strongly politicized and crossed by different interests, is what the chapter that opens from now on.
Meanwhile, the protocol states that “consultation must be encouraged before undertaking or authorizing any program for the exploration or exploitation of natural resources existing on lands of indigenous communities, and whenever the possibility of alienating their lands is considered ”.
One of the points that promises to raise dust is whether all groups are recognized as legal actors exercise claims or only to those who have legal personality. The failure to carry out the Census of Indigenous Peoples, an eternal debt of the State established by the emergency law 21.160, is the unfinished that feeds this problem. Within the vast universe of the Mapuche Confederation there are communities that do not meet this requirement and still claim tenure rights over lands they consider their own. The Fvta Xayen appears, residing right in the Tartayen area, where the trace of the new pipeline would pass.
Confederation werken Gabriel Cherqui, a landmark with a guild profile, who moved high-end cars through disputed areas, told local media that “The law is clear when it says it must be done with all communities, with or without legal personality”. Cherqui is the same man who last April, when President Alberto Fernández visited the area, told him that no pipeline would thrive if he did not take into account the “voice of indigenous peoples”.
Meanwhile, the Neuquén government says so in no way the trace of the pipeline it crosses ancestral claimed lands. There are 536 kilometers, which go from Tartayén, to Neuquén, to Saliqueló, in the province of La Pampa. The Secretary for Territorial Development of the Province, Jorge Lara, said that the lands are initially private and then public which will be expropriated for this purpose.
In any case, the protocol provides for a minimum period of 60 days to settle an opposition from the communities. Neuquén officials showed a synoptic chart full of demands that should be activated if the Mapuche claim land rights. Whenever a claim arises, this could result in a concrete delay in the development of the works.
Another key point, not entirely clear, is knowing if the query results will be taken as binding or not. Official sources in Neuquén state that in principle the local government would tend to the latter. Meanwhile, what happens in the third and fundamental stage of this story, the business front? In the sector they prefer open dialogue rather than confrontation. consulted by Clarioneenergy sector spokespeople felt that this instance, although it could delay the most anticipated jobs, nullifies the chances of a surprise picket or unexpected protests when there is almost no time to waste.