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Argentina: Son of Indigenous Leader Attacked in Formosa

By Avery Kelly | The Argentina Independent | May 6, 2013
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Félix Diaz, leader of the Qom community, speaks to the crowd in January 2011. (Photo Patricio Guillamón.)

Late Saturday night, 4th May, a street gang brutally attacked two youths of indigenous descent in the northern province of Formosa. One of the victims is 21-year-old Abelardo Díaz, the son of Qom leader Félix Díaz.

The boys were surrounded by a mob of about 30 people that abruptly began beating them, allegedly using clubs and other objects to attack Abelardo and his peer Carlos Sosa. Both had to be hospitalised, first taken to a local clinic but later transferred to the Juan Domingo Perón hospital in the provincial capital.

Although most details about the attack are still unknown, the Qom community assumes that it is related to their fight to reclaim ancestral lands, in which Félix Díaz has played a key role. On 18th April, Félix received a court order for his prosecution regarding the ‘theft’ of territory he claims for the Qom people.

Abelardo reported a similar instance in which he was beaten in June of last year, when another group armed with knives attacked him, threatening to slit his throat.

Attacks of indigenous people in the Formosa area are not uncommon. Just four months ago a young man from the Qom community was found unconscious after suffering a beating and later died in the hospital.

After his son’s hospitalisation, Félix stated: “My family continues being victim to this violence generated by the province again and again.” He added, “They criminalise me for ‘usurping’ our historic territories. However they will never break me — I will continue asking for respect for our rights and for true justice.”

Two weeks ago a group of congress members part of the Population and Human Development Commission headed by Antonio Riestra began a series of meetings with representatives from local indigenous groups to discuss the humanitarian situation of these communities in Formosa. During the talks, indigenous leaders called for a return of historic lands, access to healthcare, and bilingual education.

May 6, 2013 - Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , ,

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