Alberto Curamil, an indigenous Mapuche, organized the people of Araucanía to stop the construction of two hydroelectric projects on the sacred Cautín River in central Chile.
A campaign supporting the protection of natural resources and the release of Logko Alberto Curamil in response to the political persecution the state enforces against environmental leaders.
Alberto Curamil is an indigenous Mapuche leader and member of Alianza Territorial Mapuche (Mapuche Territorial Alliance) an organisation that works for the right to water and food, land rights and environmental rights in southern Chile. Alberto Curamil has worked tirelessly on environmental issues in Curacautin, in the region of Araucanía, opposing corporate intervention on rivers in the Mapuche region and the expansion of monoculture in their territory.
His work as a human rights defender began in 2013, when he publicly denounced the construction of two mega hydroelectric projects that would affect the Cautín river. In this context, he mobilised members of his community and other relevant actors, such as lawyers and environmental organisations, and managed to stop both projects, Alto Cautin and Doña Alicia, in 2015. They would have meant the daily deviation of hundreds of millions of liters of water, damaging ecosystems and aggravating the existing droughts in the region.
For his peaceful protest for the right to a healthy environment, the “Logko” (the name given to Mapuche leaders) Alberto Curamil was arrested for public disorder and both himself and his pregnant wife were physically attacked. Until this day, his family continues to face police harassment and attacks. In addition himself and members of ATM has been investigated for implementation of evidence and falsification of documents.
In 2019, he won the Goldman Prize for South and Central America. His daughter, Belen Curamil had to collect it, as he has been in pretrial detention since August 2018, awaiting trial on the charge of assault to a savings bank and illegal possession of arms, in which the only evidence are anonymous witnesses and an anonymous complaint. The Attorney General's Office is asking for more than 50 years in prison for the human rights defender.
"The State's response to those who denounce and directly oppose this predatory system is harassment, persecution and imprisonment in order to silence us."